James Alex Fields Jr. is the new-Nazi who drove his car into a group of people in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and wounding more than two dozen others. Fields pleaded guilty to 29 federal charges back in March as part of a plea deal to let him avoid the death penalty. Today he was sentenced to life in prison:
Speaking ahead of his sentencing on Friday, Fields apologised for the “hurt and loss” he had caused.
“Every day I think about how things could have gone differently and how I regret my actions. I’m sorry,” he said.
Fields pleaded guilty to 29 of 30 federal hate crimes under a deal with prosecutors who agreed not to seek the death penalty.
His lawyers had asked for a more lenient sentence than life in prison, citing his age, a traumatic childhood and mental illness.
Ms Heyer’s parents told the court of the pain of losing their daughter. Her father Mark Heyer told Fields: “I forgive you.”
I respect anyone who can go through something like this and still offer forgiveness. It’s much more than Fields deserves. NBC News has a bit more on what took place inside the courtroom:
Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said at the sentencing that she wanted Fields to spend the rest of his life in prison, but also hopes he “can heal someday and help others heal.”…
Rosia Parker said she was standing a few feet away from Heyer when the 32-year-old paralegal was struck. She looked right at Fields and told him he “could have done anything else but what you did.”
“So, yeah, you deserve everything that you get,” Parker said…
Gasps could be heard Friday among a packed courtroom, which included Heyer’s mother, when prosecutors told the judge that a classmate of Fields had testified that during a high school trip to a German concentration camp, Fields had remarked: “This is where the magic happened.”
Prosecutors said they were told Fields was “like a kid at Disney World” during that trip. They had earlier said that Fields had revered Adolf Hitler, keeping a picture of him next to his bed.
Today’s sentencing only related to the federal case for violating civil rights. Fields has also been convicted of numerous charges at the state level, including first-degree murder. He will be sentenced in that case next month.