Virginia city hopes to heal after man's murder conviction

James Alex Fields, Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder, and the car that rammed into the Charlottesville rally, Photo Date: 8/12/2017 / Photo: Abermarle Charlottesville Regional Jail / (MGN)
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Civil rights activists in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, are hoping the first-degree-murder conviction of a man who drove into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally will help heal their scarred community.

A state jury delivered a guilty verdict for James Alex Fields Jr. late Friday, rejecting his claims that he acted in self-defense during a "United the Right" rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.

The crash killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Her death came after police forced the rally to disband after participants had clashed with counterdemonstrators earlier.

Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy says he hopes the guilty verdict will allow the city to move forward and to eventually heal.

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A man who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia has been convicted of first-degree murder.

James Fields' murder trial compilation

In delivering its verdict late Friday afternoon, the jury rejected arguments by lawyers for James Alex Fields Jr. that he acted in self-defense.

Prosecutors said Fields drove his car directly into a crowd of counterprotesters at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, because he was angry after witnessing earlier violent clashes between the two sides. The rally was held to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Fields' lawyers told the jury he feared for his life after witnessing the violence.

The 21-year-old Fields of Maumee, Ohio, faces up to life in prison at sentencing.