Posted On 15 Jul 2019
The driver who plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, killing one and injuring dozens, was given a second life sentence Monday on state charges.
A judge already sentenced Fields to life on June 28 after he pleaded guilty on federal charges.
James Alex Fields Jr. was given the additional sentence on Monday of life plus 419 years by Judge Richard Moore after Fields was convicted by a Virginia jury in December, NBC Washington reported. The sentence was recommended by the jury, but state law allowed the judge to go lower than the jury’s recommendation if he saw fit.
The sentence Monday is largely symbolic considering the previous life sentence, NBC Washington reports.
A Virginia jury found that Fields had purposefully rammed his Dodge Challenger into the crowd of counter-protesters following the rally. The “Unite the Right” protesters were there in part to fight the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Civil rights activist Heather Heyer died from blunt force injury to the chest.
Star Peterson, one of the injured, had to undergo five surgeries on her right leg and uses a wheelchair and cane. Marcus Martin, a friend of Heyer’s, was hit by Fields’ car while pushing his wife out of the way and suffered a broken ankle, destroyed ligaments and twisted tibia.
The guilty plea in June on 29 of 30 federal hate crime charges was made to avoid the death penalty for murdering Heyer and injuring more than 30 others when he intentionally mowed them down with his car on a one-way street on Aug. 12, 2017.
The 30th charge, which included a possible death sentence, was dropped. U.S. Attorney General William Barr directed and permitted prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.