The Slatest

James Fields Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing Heather Heyer at Unite the Right Rally

Two reporters on either side of the shot hold microphones. Behind them, the circuit court building can be seen.
The Charlottesville Circuit Court. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

James Fields Jr., the neo-Nazi who was convicted of killing Heather Heyer when he drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last year, has been sentenced to life in prison.

A jury on Tuesday finished a two-week trial by announcing that Fields, convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding, and leaving the scene of a fatal crash, was sentenced to life plus 419 years, as well as $480,000 in fines, according to the Associated Press.

Fields was convicted on 10 counts Friday in Charlottesville Circuit Court. The judge in the case will formally sentence Fields on March 29. He is allowed to impose a lower sentence but is considered likely to follow the recommendation of the jury.

Fields’ lawyers, who also presented testimony about Fields’ mental health issues, argued that he drove his car into the crowds at the Aug. 12, 2017, rally because he was afraid for his safety and was acting in self-defense, the Washington Post reported. Jurors rejected this argument.

Fields also faces separate federal charges for alleged hate crimes. In June, Fields was indicted on 30 counts, including hate crimes resulting in death and bodily injury. These charges could also carry a life sentence, and the Justice Department has not said if it will seek capital punishment. No trial date has been set for the federal charges.