The Ohio man who admitted in federal court to purposefully ramming his car into a crowd of protesters after the violent white supremacist rally in downtown Charlottesville in 2017 will be sentenced at the end of this month, according to filings in U.S. District Court.
James A. Fields Jr., 22, who pleaded guilty to one count of committing a hate crime resulting in death and 28 counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, will return to federal court on June 28 in Charlottesville.
Fields will appear in front of Chief U.S. District Court Judge Michael F. Urbanski at 9 a.m. He was originally scheduled for sentencing on July 3.
On March 27, Fields pleaded guilty to the 29 counts of hate-related crimes in exchange for a life sentence and the government not seeking the death penalty. He will not be eligible for parole, according to the plea agreement.
A single count of “racially-motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity resulting in the death” of protester Heather Heyer, which carried a possible death sentence, was dropped as a result of the plea agreement.
Fields was also convicted in December of first-degree murder in Charlottesville Circuit Court for Heyer’s death, three counts of malicious wounding, five counts of malicious wounding resulting in an injury and felony hit and run.
A city jury recommended life in prison plus 419 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 15 on the state charges.
In his federal court guilty plea, Fields signed a statement and initialed every page describing his actions leading up to his driving his car into a crowd of people protesting the rally who were walking down Water Street and had entered the intersection with the Fourth Street Downtown Mall vehicular crossing.
In the court filing, Fields said that, prior to Aug. 12, 2017, he used multiple social media accounts to express his view of white supremacy and his support of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany as well as violence against African Americans, Jews and other “racial, ethnic and religious groups” he “perceived to be nonwhite.”
He admitting to attending the Unite the Right rally and joining with other attendees in engaging in “chants promoting or expressing white-supremacist and other racist and anti-Semitic views.”
In the court document, he admitted to backing his car up on Fourth Street and then driving forward down the street and into the crowd “because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, and/or national origin of individuals in the crowd” in a “an attempt to kill” protesters.
In the December trial, the city jury recommended life in prison and a $100,000 fine for the first-degree murder conviction in Heyer’s death. On each of the five aggravated malicious wounding charges, jurors called for a 70-year sentence and a $70,000 fine. For the three malicious wounding convictions, Fields could spend 20 years in prison and pay $10,000 in fines. The hit-and-run conviction received a recommendation of nine years. In all, the jury recommended $480,000 in fines.