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Neo-Nazi who killed civil rights activist at Charlottesville rally found guilty of first-degree murder

Self-proclaimed neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted of first degree murder this Friday for driving a car into a crowd at the 2017 Charlottesville rally and killing counter-protester Heather Heyer, The Washington Post reports.

The jury also found Fields guilty of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding and three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run.

From The Washington Post:

Fields’s conviction followed six days of testimony in Charlottesville Circuit Court, where Heyer’s deadly injuries were detailed and survivors of the crash described the chaos and their own injuries. Jeanne Peterson, 38, who limped to the witness stand with the help of bailiffs, said she’d had five surgeries and would have another next year. Wednesday Bowie, a counterprotester in her 20s, said her pelvis was broken in six places. Marcus Martin described pushing his then-fiancee out of the Challenger’s path before he was struck.

Susan Bro, Heyer’s mother, sat near the front of the crowded courtroom every day watching the proceedings overseen by Judge Richard E. Moore. Fields’s mother, Samantha Bloom, sat in her wheelchair on the other side, an island in a sea of her son’s victims and their supporters.

Fields’ attorney argued during the trial that his client panicked when he drove his Dodge Challenger into the group in August 2017, telling the jury that Fields “feared for his safety” and was remorseful that people were hurt.

But prosecutors argued that Fields was angry that day and before the rally posted to Instagram an image of a group of people getting struck by a car. Prosecutors also played surveillance footage showing Fields driving his car slowly towards the group, reversing, and then speeding into them.

“This case is about his decision to act on that anger,” Antony said.

As NBC9 reports, prosecutors also played a taped phone call between Fields and his mother, where he’s heard lashing out at Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, calling her a “communist” and “anti-white supremacist.”

Heyer, who was a 32-year-old paralegal and civil rights activist, died from blunt force injury to the chest. Nineteen other people were injured in the crash.

Featured image: Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail/Facebook

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