Neo-Nazi guilty of murder over Charlottesville rampage

Neo-Nazi guilty of murder over Charlottesville rampage

Self-professed neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted of first-degree murder on Friday for killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer when he intentionally drove his auto into a group of counterprotesters at last year's violent Unite the Right rally that brought scores of white supremacists to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Spencer told The Associated Press that he was not "shocked" but was "appalled" by the verdict the jury delivered against James Alex Fields Jr. late Friday afternoon.

Fields could also face the death penalty if he is tried and found guilty of separate federal hate crime charges.

The jury reached their verdict at the end of its first day of deliberations following a trial lasting nearly two weeks.

The 21-year-old Fields of Maumee, Ohio, faces up to life in prison at sentencing.

He was charged with first-degree murder over Heyer's death and five counts of aggravated malicious wounding along with three counts of malicious wounding and one count of a felony hit and run.

Earlier in the day, Fields was photographed marching with Vanguard America, a neo-Nazi group, during the rally.

Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, was demonstrating with dozens of others against the "Unite the Right" rally when Fields drove his vehicle into the crowd after a day of tense clashes between members of alt-right groups and those opposed to their presence.

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The nine-day trial featured days of emotional testimony from victims who were seriously injured in the crash, including a man who pushed his girlfriend out of the way, bearing the brunt of the impact himself, and a single mother who suffered two broken legs and a broken back.

She said she sees the guilty verdict as the city's way of saying, "We will not tolerate this in our city".

"You can't do that based on the fact that he holds extreme right-wing views", she said.

He shared a photo of Adolf Hitler with the message: "We're not the one (sic) who need to be careful".

The city became the focal point for white supremacists when city council members voted to remove statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J.

Heyer, who was 32 and a paralegal, had never protested before the demonstration against the Unite the Right rally, a friend who was at the protest told NPR.

Prosecutors showed jurors videos showing Fields carrying a shield and chanting anti-Semitic and homophobic slogans alongside other members of the far right, and presented a text Fields sent to his mother before departing for the rally after she had asked him to be careful.

The rally brought out thousands of supporters of the alt-right, a loosely-knit coalition of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis. "This is the best I have been in a year and a half". No trial has been scheduled yet.

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