Fields found guilty of first-degree murder, convicted on all counts

Fields found guilty of first-degree murder, convicted on all counts

In this August 12, 2017 photo, James Alex Fields Jr., second from left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville, Va., where a white supremacist rally took place.

A white nationalist who drove his auto into a crowd protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, killing one of the demonstrators, has been found guilty of first-degree murder and nine other counts.

Suspect James Alex Fields was on trial for the death and injuries he is accused of causing when he drove his auto into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer.

The verdict on Friday followed an intense trial. The trial surfaced painful memories and emotions for many in this small city who were in the streets that day or have friends and acquaintances who were injured. "It's also been tearing open some old wounds".

Fields, who drove from OH to Virginia to support white nationalist demonstrators, faces up to life in prison at sentencing on Monday.

While the fact that Fields had struck the protesters in his Dodge Challenger was not contested, his lawyers and prosecutors had offered contrasting narratives over his state of mind and intentions on that day. He's been on trial since November for the murder charge and still faces trial on the additional charges.

On Aug. 12, 2017, a rally organized by alt-right groups to protest the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue turned violent.

Dressed in a white polo shirt and khaki trousers - the uniform of the white supremacists - he took part in racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic chants, according to footage played in the courtroom.

They showed video and presented witnesses testifying that there was no one around Fields' auto when he slowly backed it up the street and then raced it forward down the hill into the unsuspecting crowd.

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It was a revised version of slurs shouted by white-supremacist-rally participants in 2017 who yelled "Jews will not replace us".

She said she sees the guilty verdict as the city's way of saying, "We will not tolerate this in our city". In a text message exchange with his mother before the rally, Mr. Fields was told to "be careful".

One of Fields' former teachers said the 21-year-old showed a strong interest in Nazi ideology and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in high school.

Jurors were shown a now-deleted Instagram post that Fields shared three months before the crash.

Charlottesville civil rights activist Tanesha Hudson said she attended the rally and saw the violence that day.

Among the witnesses they called was Dwayne Dixon, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor.

Before the fatal incident, Fields was photographed holding a shield that had the Vanguard America emblem.

They presented one of their most prized pieces of evidence on Tuesday: a videotape of Fields sobbing and breaking down to a police officer shortly after his arrest, as he asked: "Are they OK?".

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