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08 December 2018, 02:12 | Glen Norman
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James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted for murder and faces at least 20 years to life in the killing of a woman during a Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist rally.
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal and civil rights activist, was killed, and almost three dozen others were injured.
In addition to murder, Fields was convicted of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three counts of malicious wounding and a hit-and-run offence.
He was found to have run over several people, including Heyer, with his Dodge Challenger. One of those federal charges is eligible for the death penalty.
Fields, 21, was convicted on every count he faced, including first-degree murder, reportsNBC News.
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Fields drove from his home in Maumee, Ohio to support the white nationalists, who were rallying to oppose the planned removal from a public park of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.
The court is scheduled to sentence Fields on Monday.
"He thought people were after him", another defense attorney, Denise Lunsford, told CNN. "The difference between a joyful crowd and an angry mob lies in the beholder".
The August 12, 2017 violence, which claimed the life of 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer and injured dozens more, turned the bucolic university city in Virginia into a symbol of the growing audacity of the far right under Trump.
The prosecution played videos that showed Fields stop his auto and reverse up a hill before commencing his deadly assault on a crowd of counter-protesters who were singing and celebrating after city officials had ordered the far right to leave. Jurors were shown a text message he sent to his mother days before the rally that included an image of the notorious German dictator. His mother replied by telling him to be careful to which Fields shot back, "we're not the one (sic) who need to be careful".
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They also showed the jury two Instagram posts Fields uploaded in May that showed a vehicle ramming into a group of protesters, arguing that he ultimately chose to live out that fantasy when the opportunity arose three months later.
Throughout the day of the rally, Fields was never harassed or assaulted, nor was he ever in any kind of peril, prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony said.
Over the course of the trial prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony depicted Fields as an angry white nationalist who acted with hate and violence on August 12, 2017 when he sped into unsuspecting counterdemonstrators after the Unite the Right rally was shut down by authorities.
Fields referred to Heyer's mother in a recorded jailhouse phone call as a "communist" and "one of those anti-white supremacists". "It doesn't matter. It's not up for questioning".
On Thursday, she urged the jury to find Fields guilty of "no more than" the lesser charges of manslaughter in Heyer's death and unlawful wounding for the injuries to others.
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