Charlottesville Car Attacker Sentenced to Life in Prison
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Neo-Nazi Charlottesville Car Attacker Sentenced to Life in Prison

James A. Fields Jr. was sentenced by a jury to life and 491 years in prison after killing 1, injuring 35.

Neo-Nazi Charlottesville Car Attacker Sentenced to Life in Prison

On August 12, 2017, hundreds of white supremacists inundated the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia shouting racist, anti-Semitic chants and sporting swastikas. Among these Neo-nazis was James A. Fields Jr., a 21-year-old man who drove himself from Ohio to the rally in his Dodge Challenger - the vehicle he drove into a crowd of counter-protesters later that day.

Heather Heyer is the name of the 32-year-old woman who was murdered by Fields' fatal act of violence. Described as "full of love... full of justice," Heyer lost her life while protesting hate, the very thing that killed her.

35 other counter-protestors were injured, 8 of which were considered "aggravated malicious wounding," or "malicious wounding," contributing to the 419 additional years suggested in Fields' sentence.

Fields' defense in his trial was "self-defense," however, according to a counter-protestor who witnessed the attack, Fields "backed up the hill and came barreling down the street, picking up speed to do as much damage as possible," as he drove into a crowd filled with signs reading "love," and "no place for hate." Another counter-protester, Bill Burke, who was also struck by the vehicle, recalls being told that his head was bleeding and counting the compressions being done unto him while he lay atop another victim - that victim was Heather Heyer.

This past Tuesday, Fields was justly sentenced by a jury to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Heather Heyer, along with 419 additional years and a fine of half a million dollars for the wounding of others. However, this verdict is not final, but rather a suggestion from the jury to the Judge, Richard E. Moore, who will officially decide Fields' sentence on March 29 (he is allowed to issue a lesser sentence, but is not allowed to increase it).

Although this news undoubtedly is received as a victory in Charlottesville and around the globe, the physical and psychological damage Fields did is irreversible, and there is still much to be done to mend the damage done by racism on that day and many others.

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