US Neo-Nazi gets life imprisonment for 2017 car attack
Washington: A self-proclaimed American Neo-Nazi who purposely rammed his car into a crowd during the 2017 protests in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, leaving one woman dead , was sentenced to life imprisonment by a federal judge
James Alex Fields Jr., 22, a native of Ohio, was found guilty last March of 29 hate crimes and the killing of Heather Heyer, who died after being run over by the accused, reports Efe news.
Before hearing his sentence on Friday, Fields Jr. said: “I’d like to apologize. I apologize to my mother for putting her through all of this. Every day I think about my actions and how this could have gone differently. I’m sorry.”
The accused appeared handcuffed and wearing an inmate’s garb at the court in Charlottesville, where his case was tried.
During the trial, Fields’ attorneys had asked the judge to have pity on the accused because he had suffered from mental illness since childhood and said he hadn’t intentionally steered the car into the crowd that was peacefully protesting against the Neo-Nazi march.
In response, the prosecution had described the defendant as a racist who had no remorse for his crime or for the psychological and physical harm he inflicted on his victims.
The prosecution said that Fields’ crimes were “so horrendous – and the maiming of innocents so severe – that they outweigh any factors the defendant may argue form a basis for leniency”.
Fields Jr. went to Charlottesville on August 11-12, 2017, to join a march called “Unite the Right”.
A group of torch-bearing Neo-Nazis were demonstrating in the streets of Charlottesville and chanting xenophobic slogans in protest against the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate Army’s leading general during the American Civil War.
That protest was contested by an anti-fascist march telling the Neo-Nazis to get out of Charlottesville.
It was then that Fields drove into the crowd of counter-protesters, as videos and photos taken at the moment show.
While the protests were going on, two police officers died in a helicopter accident as they were arriving to disperse the protests.