Charlottesville protester found guilty of murder in death of Heather Heyer


A protester in Chicago holds a sign commemorating Heather Heyer, who was killed during the Charlottesville protests in August. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The man who rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was found guilty of murder.

A jury found James Alex Fields Jr., 20, guilty of first-degree murder on Friday during the first day of deliberations after an almost two-week trial. He faces 20 years to life in prison.

Fields also was convicted on five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three counts of malicious wounding and one hit and run count for injuring at least 20 others with his vehicle.

He also is charged with 30 federal hate crimes, which will involve another trial.

The rally on Aug, 12, 2017, was first organized to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It was held under the banner of “Unite the Right.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called Heyer’s death a “tragedy.”

“Fields traveled to Charlottesville to participate in an event celebrating racism and anti-Semitism, and his violent actions were a devastating reminder of the consequences of unchecked hate. We applaud the verdict, and we thank members of the prosecution and law enforcement for their efforts to bring Fields to justice for his heinous crime,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “This verdict sends a strong message to others that hate has no place in our society.”

“We hope Fields will also be found guilty of federal hate crimes,” the statement also said.

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