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Jury recommends Charlottesville neo-Nazi James Fields be sentenced to life in prison

Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore will now decide Fields’ fate.

by Tess Owen
Dec 11 2018, 6:11pm

Correction 12/11 12:32 p.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Judge Richard Moore handed down a life sentence to James Alex Fields. The text has been updated.

James Alex Fields, the young neo-Nazi convicted of first-degree murder for killing Heather Heyer during last year’s violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

After about four hours of deliberating, a jury on Tuesday returned their sentencing recommendations to Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore, who will now decide Fields’ fate. Jurors recommended life in prison and an additional 419 years and fines of $480,000. Judges in Virginia often accept jury's recommendations, and Moore said he'll hold a sentencing hearing for Fields on March 19.

Jurors on Monday heard more emotional testimony from people who were physically and psychologically impacted when Fields, now 21, accelerated into a crowd of protesters in downtown Charlottesville, sending bodies flying, before reversing, hitting bodies again, and speeding off.

Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, also read her victim impact statement on Monday, according to reporters in the courtroom. "Heather was full of love, justice, and fairness,” Buzzfeed reported Bro saying about her daughter, who was 32 when she was killed. “Mr. Fields tried to silence her. I refuse to allow that. I'm the type of mom where if you mess with my kid on the playground, it's on."

On Friday, the same jury found Fields, who drove from Maumee, Ohio, to attend Unite the Right, guilty on all charges, which in addition to first-degree murder included multiple counts of aggravated malicious wounding and felonious assault.

The first-degree murder charge, by itself, carried a prison sentence of 20 years to life in prison. The cumulative minimum sentence of all ten charges he was convicted on was 136 years.

Separately, Fields is also facing 29 counts of federal hate crime charges, and prosecutors have not ruled out seeking the death penalty if he is convicted.

Cover image: This undated file photo provided by the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail shows James Alex Fields Jr. (Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail via AP, File)

This article originally appeared on VICE News US.