The white nationalist who drive his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a young woman and injuring dozens of others, will spend the rest of his life behind bars, the Daily Beast reported on Tuesday.
James Alex Fields, Jr. was sentenced to life in prison, plus 419 years, after being convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
In addition to his prison sentence, Fields also faces half a million dollars in fines related to the attack, including a $100,000 fine for first-degree murder.
“Her death was an explosion to the world,” Heyer’s mother Susan Bro said in a victim impact statement while confronting her daughter’s killer in court for the first time. “We are forever scarred by pain.”
In total, Fields was convicted Friday on ten charges, including five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of failing to stop at an accident involving a death. Six of those counts had a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The 12-person jury that convicted Fields heard more evidence and witness testimony on Monday from both sides before recommending the sentence to Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard E. Moore, who made the final call.
Heyer’s mother spoke to the jury prior to Fields’ sentencing, describing her daughter’s fatal injuries, which included “a severed aorta and lacerations that left skin and blood on Fields' windshield”.
“Heather was full of love, full of justice, and full of fairness. Mr. Fields tried to silence her, but I refuse to allow that,” Bro said through tears, according to reporters present at the hearing. She later added that she does not hate Fields and is putting his fate “in the hands of justice.”
“My family has been to therapy as the darkness has tried to swallow us whole,” she added. “We are survivors, but we’re much sadder survivors.”
Fields has yet to begin a second trial in which he faces federal hate crime charges:
While Field’s prison sentence will likely prevent the 21-year-old from ever seeing the world outside his prison, this was only the first of two trials he faced.
The next one, regarding a 30-count hate crime indictment brought against him by the Department of Justice, does not yet have a start date.