A counterprotester holds a photo of Heather Heyer on Boston Common at a “Free Speech” rally organized by conservative activists, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston. Heyer was killed last Saturday when a car, allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr., that plowed into a group of people during protests in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Avowed white supremacist gets life sentence in Charlottesville car attack

James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, had pleaded guilty in March to the 2017 attack that killed one person

An avowed white supremacist who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during a white nationalist rally in Virginia was sentenced to life in prison Friday on hate crime charges.

READ MORE: Man who drove into Charlottesville crowd convicted of first-degree murder

James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, had pleaded guilty in March to the 2017 attack that killed one person and injured more than two dozen others. In exchange, prosecutors dropped their request for the death penalty. His attorneys asked for a sentence less than life. He will be sentenced next month on separate state charges.

Before the judge handed down his sentence, Fields, accompanied by one of his lawyers, walked to a podium in the courtroom and spoke.

“I apologize for the hurt and loss I’ve caused,” he said, later adding, “Every day I think about how things could have gone differently and how I regret my actions. I’m sorry.”

Fields’ comment came after more than a dozen survivors of and witnesses to the attack delivered emotional testimony about the physical and psychological wounds they had received as a result of the events that day.

The “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017, drew hundreds of white nationalists to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The case stirred racial tensions around the country.

Fields was charged with 29 hate crime counts and one count of “racially motivated violent interference.” He pleaded guilty to 29 of the counts.

In a sentencing memo filed in court last week, Fields’ lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski to consider a sentence of “less than life.”

“No amount of punishment imposed on James can repair the damage he caused to dozens of innocent people. But this Court should find that retribution has limits,” his attorneys wrote.

Fields faces sentencing in state court on July 15. A jury has recommended life plus 419 years.

Denise Lavoie, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna classroom where child allegedly overdosed re-opens after cleaning

An 8-year-old was unresponsive and unable to walk after ingesting an unknown substance at school.

Hockey groups take over Princeton arena concession

New hands will be serving up food at the Princeton Arena concession… Continue reading

EDITORIAL: This is our election

It is up to the voting public to identify the issues in the upcoming federal election

Gold scammers selling fake jewellery in Princeton B.C.

“Don’t buy jewelery at the side of the road.” That’s the advice… Continue reading

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

Most Read