Avowed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr. was given a second sentence of life in prison for killing a woman and injuring dozens when he rammed his car into a group of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
On Monday, Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore sentenced Fields to the life term plus 419 years and $480,000 in fines, in keeping with a jury’s recommendation.
Last month, a federal judge sentenced the 22-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Fields had pleaded guilty to 29 federal hate crimes in a plea agreement in exchange for prosecutors dropping a charge that could have led to the death penalty.
People had gathered in the heat outside of the Virginia courthouse on Monday, waiting for the sentence to be handed down. One journalist said Fields’ arrival was obscured from public view.
After the sentence was announced, Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joseph Platania, said, “While there is no true closure that this process is able to provide, we are hopeful that today’s sentence is the first step forward for some, as they try and begin to heal.”
A jury in Charlottesville convicted Fields in December on state charges of first-degree murder in the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer, as well as on multiple counts of aggravated malicious wounding, malicious wounding and leaving the scene of an accident.
State prosecutors used X-rays, photos, video and social media posts to argue that Fields had acted deliberately, with hatred in his heart. (“I feel like court’s going to be watching my daughter die again, over and over and over,” Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said at the time of the trial.)
A court-appointed attorney for Fields unsuccessfully tried to have the trial relocated because of the publicity and impact on residents in Charlottesville.