Man who ran over Charlottesville protester guilty of murder

The Dodge Challenger allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. moments after the rampage in Charlottesville Virginia

The Dodge Challenger allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. moments after the rampage in Charlottesville Virginia

James Fields, 21, of OH, claimed he was acting in self-defence when he killed Heather Heyer, 32, and injured dozens of others taking part in a demonstration opposing a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August.

"I saw Heather Heyer up in the air and remember thinking to myself, 'That's what someone's eyes look like when they are dead'".

Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy says he hopes the guilty verdict will allow the city to move forward and to eventually heal.

The defense case was that Fields was in a panic when he drove into the crowd, but the jury obviously didn't buy it.

Defence attorneys never disputed that Fields was behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger that sent bodies flying when it crashed into a crowd on 12 August a year ago, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring 19 others. He drove his Dodge Challenger through the night to attend the white nationalist rally, which was organized to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee.

The Virginia jury rejected arguments from Fields' lawyer that he acted in self defense.

Sending love to all of my friends in Charlottesville as white supremacist Trump supporter James Alex Fields, Jr is found guilty of First Degree murder and 9 other felonies for deliberately running over Heather Heyer & others with his vehicle.

The jury, comprising seven women and five men, is scheduled to be back in court Monday - weather permitting - for the beginning of the sentencing phase.

A prosecutor, Nina-Alice Antony, argued that Fields clearly had "specific intent to kill a human being", even if he had not singled out any particular person in the crowd.

The mothers of both Fields and Ms Heyer were present in the courtroom when the verdict was returned. Fields verbally attacked Bro in a recorded prison conversation with his own mother, in which he called Bro an "anti-white supremacist" and a "communist".

Four other men from California described by prosecutors as members of a militant white supremacist group, Rise Above Movement, were arrested in October on federal charges of instigating violence during the Charlottesville rallies. On Aug. 11, 2017, the day before the rally, she told him to be careful and he responded "We're not the one [sic] who need to be careful", along with a picture of Adolf Hitler.

Antony also repeatedly reminded jurors about a meme Fields posted on Instagram three months before the crash.

During the trial, prosecutors provided evidence that Fields showed little remorse for the murder in a call he made to his mother in December 2017. On the day of the rally in 2017, his mother texted him to be careful. Wednesday Bowie, a counter-protester in her 20s, said her pelvis was broken in six places. The jury is expected to hear victim impact statements and make sentencing recommendations next week.

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