Virginia city seeks healing after man's murder conviction

Понедельник, 10 Дек, 2018

James Alex Fields, who in August 2017 drove a auto into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was convicted Friday of first-degree murder and nine other charges. The now 21-year-old Fields remained stoic during the six-day trial that featured testimonies from the survivors of the crash. Her death came after police forced the rally to disband after participants had clashed with counterdemonstrators earlier.

Defense attorneys Denise Lunsford and John Hill did not deny Fields drove the auto that killed Heyer and injured dozens.

The jury deliberated for seven hours before convicting Fields, according to local media reports.

During the incident, Fields slammed his auto into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heyer and injuring dozens more.

Fields drove from his home in Maumee, Ohio to support the white nationalists, who were rallying to oppose the planned removal from a public park of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.

His testimony was largely consistent with other defense witnesses, who told the court that Fields didn't appear angry or agitated before he got behind the wheel of his auto.

Fields is charged with first-degree murder and other felonies for the August 2017 crash that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The rally was marked by violent clashes between counterprotesters and white nationalists, some of whom were convicted earlier this year.

President Trump drew wide-scale criticism when in the aftermath of Charlottesville, he said that there was "blame on both sides". "We're not the one who need to be careful", Fields replied in a misspelled text message on August 11, 2017.

"This is the best I've been in a year and a half", Bowie said.

During the trial, prosecutors provided evidence that Fields showed little remorse for the murder in a call he made to his mother in December 2017.

Fields, who also was convicted of failure to stop at the accident, is set to return to court Monday for a sentencing hearing before the same jury. In a text message exchange with his mother before the rally, Mr. Fields was told to "be careful".

Jeanne "Star" Peterson told the court she was fast on her feet till her right leg was run over by Fields's vehicle.

After a week of testimony, a jury found that Fields deliberately rammed his auto into the crowd after the rally, which was organized in part to protest the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue.

The commonwealth argued that Fields meant to harm the counterprotesters. Other evidence included recordings of conversations Fields had with his mother after his arrest, in which he described the counterprotesters at the rally as a "violent gang of terrorists", and derided Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, as an "anti-white liberal" who should be viewed as an enemy.