James Alex Fields Jr., the man who killed one and injured dozens when he intentionally drove his car into a group counter-protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was sentenced to life in federal prison Friday for the 2017 incident.
Fields, 22, was sentenced for hate crime charges for the widely-publicized hit-and-run wreck that killed civil rights activist Heather Heyer and left 30 people injured. NBC News reported that will be sentenced on state charges, including first-degree murder and malicious wounding, on July 15.
According to The New York Times, Fields had attended the “Unite the Right” rally, where attendees were pictured and filmed yelling anti-Semitic phrases, wielding tiki torches, and attacking a group of counterprotesters. The controversial rally was coming to a close when Fields drove into the crowd.
Before heading to the rally, Fields, “expressed and promoted his belief that white people are superior to other races and peoples; expressed support of the social and racial policies of Adolf Hitler and Nazi-era Germany, including the Holocaust; and espoused violence against African Americans, Jewish people and members of other racial, ethnic and religious groups he perceived to be non-white,” according to the federal indictment acquired by CNN.
The investigation uncovered texts showing that a relative had messaged Fields urging him to “be careful” before his trip from Ohio to Virginia, to which Fields responded, “We’re not the ones who need to be careful,” and included a photo of Hitler, according to the news station.
NBC reported that Fields’ former classmate testified that during a high school trip to a German concentration camp, Fields uttered, “This is where the magic happened.” Prosecutors went on to describe Fields as being “like a kid at Disney World,” noting earlier that he kept a photo of Hitler next to his bed.
Fields pleaded guilty to 29 of 30 charges in March. In turn, federal prosecutors dropped a charge that could’ve led to him being sentenced to death.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Here is a related episode.
[Featured image: James Alex Fields Jr./Courtesy Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail; Heather Heyer/Facebook]