James Alex Fields, the 22-year-old man previously convicted in state court for murdering 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuring others with his car in Charlottesville, was sentenced to life in prison on federal hate crime charges related to the same incident.
Fields’s attorneys in federal court argued in a sentencing memo Friday that anything less than a life sentence would be an “expression of mercy.” The judge went onto grant no leniency, however.
The judge ruled James Fields 28 life terms term for hate crimes leading to injuries will be served concurrently along with a separate life term on the hate crime resulting in Heather Heyer’s death, so 2 life terms total. @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/jOiQ7nE74w
— Julie Carey (@JulieCareyNBC) June 28, 2019
The defendant apologized in a Virginia federal court, saying he was sorry “for the hurt and loss I’ve caused,” according to USA Today.
Prosecutors, however, said there were jailhouse phone calls from 2018 during which Fields told his mother he hoped he could “get that insanity thing.” He lambasted Heyer, who was white, as “anti-white, liberal.”
“She’s the enemy,” he said.
“No one is the enemy,” his mother said.
He maintained his position, and cursed at his mom to stop questioning him. Fields has been described in reports as an avowed neo-Nazi.
The defendant went to Charlottesville in August 2017 to attend the so-called “Unite the Right” rally to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It attracted white supremacists across the nation. Anti-racist counter-protesters like Heyer showed up to oppose them.
[Mugshot via Charlottesville Police Department]