Neo-Nazi James A. Fields, Jr. was convicted of First Degree Murder in the death of Heather D. Heyer. The jury deliberated for 7 hours on Friday, and concluded that Fields acted with premeditation when he rammed his car into a crowd protesting the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, VA last year. The attack injured 35, and killed Heyer.
The deadly attack in the early afternoon of August 12, 2017 culminated a dark 24 hours in this quiet college town. It was marked by a menacing torchlight march through the University of Virginia campus the night before, with participants shouting racist and anti-Semitic insults, and wild street battles on the morning of the planned rally between white supremacists and those opposing their ideology.
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.
The defense team had argued that Fields wasn't angry. He was scared. It was self-defense. He was fearful for his life. The jury didn't buy it, and neither should anyone else.