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Tipsheet

Jury Recommends Life Imprisonment for James Fields

A federal jury on Tuesday recommended life in prison plus 419 years for James Fields, the 21-year-old convicted of killing a woman during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.   

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Fields drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in August 2017, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others.

His defense urged jurors to consider his history of mental health problems when recommending a sentence, calling him a “mentally compromised individual.”

The jury reached its verdict after deliberating for about four hours over two days. Judges in Virginia often impose the sentence recommended by juries. Under state law, they can impose lower sentences than what the jury recommends, but cannot increase them.

Before issuing its recommendation, the jury asked Moore if the sentences would run consecutively or concurrently. He replied that sentences usually run consecutively, but that jurors could recommend concurrent sentences if they choose.

The jury deliberated for just under two hours Monday after hearing emotional testimony from the mother of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal and activist who was killed when Fields rammed his car into a crowd at a "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. (Fox News)

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Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, expressed her thanks to everyone involved in the case. 

"I thank the jury for their careful and thoughtful work," she said. "I thank his defense team for putting up a defense and trying to help the young man, but in the end, the hands of justice say he needs to be kept away from society for a while, and I'm content with that."

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 29.

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