The Latest: Charlottesville hopes verdict will help healing
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The latest on the first-degree-murder conviction of a man who drove his car into a group of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally (all times local):
Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy says he hopes the guilty verdict in the trial of a man who drove his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally will allow the city to move forward.
Thirty-two-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer was killed, and dozens of people were injured on Aug. 12, 2017, when James Alex Fields Jr. plowed into the group.
Bellamy said Friday that the psychological damage caused by the event cannot be undone, nor can the fact that Heyer was killed. But he said that the justice system has shown that it can do the right thing.
The 21-year-old Fields was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder in an attack that inflamed long-simmering racial and political tensions across the country.
A woman who was injured when a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia is celebrating his first-degree murder conviction.
Wednesday Bowie was struck by the car which killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. She suffered severe injuries, including a broken pelvis.
The car was driven by James Alex Fields Jr., who was convicted late Friday afternoon on the murder charge and eight other charges.
Bowie told reporters after the jury delivered its verdict that “this is the best I’ve been in a year-and-a-half.”
After the verdict was read, some of those who were injured embraced Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro. She left the courthouse without commenting.
Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, also left the courthouse without commenting.
About a dozen civil rights activists who were outside the courthouse awaiting a verdict in the trial of James Alex Fields Jr. are celebrating his first-degree-murder conviction.
With right arms raised in a fist, they chanted in unison after the Friday afternoon verdict that white nationalists “will not replace us.”
It was a revised version of slurs shouted by white-supremacist-rally participants in 2017 who yelled “Jews will not replace us.”
Charlottesville civil rights activist Tanesha Hudson said she attended the rally and saw the violence that day. She said she sees the guilty verdict as the city’s way of saying, “We will not tolerate this in our city.”
She says Charlottesville residents “don’t stand for this type of hate.”
A community activist believes justice was served with the first-degree-murder conviction of a man who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia in 2017.
University of Virginia professor Walt Heinecke organized permitted counterprotests for the same day as the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
He said Friday that he had closely followed coverage of James Fields’ trial and believes the Ohio man’s self-defense arguments were “ludicrous.” He pointed to testimony that three months before the rally, Fields had posted a meme on Instagram depicting a car hitting people.
On the eve of the rally violence, Heinecke had tried to intervene and protect students who were attacked by torch-carrying white nationalists at a statue of Thomas Jefferson on the university’s campus.
White nationalist Richard Spencer says the first-degree-murder conviction of the man who drove his car into counterprotesters after a white nationalist rally in August 2017 is a “miscarriage of justice.”
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.
Spencer says James “was treated as a terrorist from the get-go.”
Spencer questioned whether Fields could get a fair trial since the case was “so emotional.”
He says that from his perspective “there does not seem to be any reasonable evidence put forward that he engaged in murderous intent.”
Spencer popularized the term “alt-right” to describe a fringe movement loosely mixing white nationalism, anti-Semitism and other far-right extremist views. He said he doesn’t feel any personal responsibility for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville.
The man who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year showed no emotion when a jury declared him guilty of first-degree murder.
James Alex Fields Jr. appeared stoic as the verdict was read in a courtroom late Friday afternoon. Jurors delivered their decision after deliberating for about seven hours.
Judge Richard Moore told jurors they would reconvene Monday for a sentencing hearing. The jury will hear evidence and then will recommend a sentence to the judge. The hearing could take two days.
A jury is set to begin deliberating in the murder trial of an Ohio man accused of intentionally driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally, killing one woman and injuring dozens.
A prosecutor told jurors in closing arguments Thursday that 21-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. had hate and violence on his mind when he plunged the car into the crowd. Defense attorneys argued Fields had plowed into the crowd out of fear.
Jurors are scheduled to get the case Friday morning.
Fields is charged with first-degree murder and other felonies for the August 2017 crash that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Her death came after police forced a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville to disband after participants had clashed with counterdemonstrators earlier.