A state court sentenced neo-Nazi James Fields Jr. to life in prison Monday, plus 419 years and $480,000 in fines due to Fields’ violent role in the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville in August 2017. Fields drove his car into counter-protestors who had been demonstrating in opposition to the white supremacist and neo-Nazi messages, killing 32-year-old Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer and injuring dozens others.
In December, a Charlottesville jury charged Fields with counts of first-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding, malicious wounding and leaving the scene of an accident. A state jury made the recommendation of life in prison plus 419 years, and Judge Richard Moore issued the sentence Monday.
Throughout the trial, Fields’ attorneys cited mental health issues as a mitigating factor and asked for a sentence that would allow the defendant to eventually be released from prison. However, courts found that Fields’ history of racist and anti-Semitic beliefs and footage from the scene of the attack showed the premeditated malicious intent in his actions.