White supremacist convicted of murder in Charlottesville attack gets life in prison

White supremacist James Fields, who plowed into protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, killing a woman and injuring others, has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in order to avoid the death penalty.

Fields pleaded guilty to the 29 federal hate crimes after driving from his Maumee, Ohio, house to attend the “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017, which drew hundreds of white nationalists to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue.

Hundreds of counter-protesters also attended the event, and as tensions escalated, Fields drove his car through the crowd, killing 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer and injuring more than 30 others.

Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting against white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Fields’ attorneys sought leniency for their client in a legal memo earlier this week, arguing he should eventually be permitted parole considering his traumatic childhood and mental illness.

During Fields’ state trial, a psychologist testified for the defense saying Fields had inexplicable volatile outbursts as a young child, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 6 and was later diagnosed with a schizoid personality disorder.

In a sentencing memo, defense attorneys said Fields was raised by a paraplegic single mother and suffered “trauma” knowing his Jewish grandfather had slain his grandmother before taking his own life.

City workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation park in Charlottesville, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. The move intended to symbolize the city’s mourning for Heather Heyer, killed while protesting a white nationalist rally earlier this month. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (The Associated Press)

Prosecutors, however, said Fields has a long history of racist and anti-Semitic behavior and has shown no remorse for his crimes. They said he’s an avowed white supremacist, admired Adolf Hitler and even kept a picture of the Nazi leader on his bedside table.

During the sentencing hearing on Friday, FBI Special Agent Wade Douthit said Fields “was like a kid at Disney World” during a high school trip to the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

Douthit read grand jury testimony from a high school classmate of Fields who said Fields appeared happy and made the remark, “This is where the magic happened.”

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