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Fields to appeal state conviction in Charlottesville car attack

James Alex Fields Jr. plans to appeal the entirety of his state conviction for driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters after the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

Fields’ attorney filed a notice of appeal on Monday, according to court records.

Fields was sentenced to life in prison plus 419 years on the charges in Charlottesville Circuit Court in June.

He was convicted on 10 charges, including the first-degree murder of Heather Heyer, after he traveled from his Ohio home to the rally in Charlottesville and drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter-protesters after the rally was broken up by police.

“The simple act of showing up is all she did,” said Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, at the sentencing, of her daughter’s decision to protest the rally. “And I’m here to tell you that’s all you have to do, just show up and stand up against hatred for what is right.”

After two days of deliberation on Dec. 11, 2018, a jury recommended life in prison plus 419 years and $480,000 in fines.

Because the sentence has been appealed, all evidence related to the trial must be preserved until the appeals process is finished. An brief in support of the appeal is expected to be filed by Fields’ attorneys in the coming weeks.

Fields already is serving multiple life sentences after accepting a plea agreement in his federal hate crimes case. He pleaded guilty to 29 hate crime counts.

He was sentenced to 29 life sentences in the federal case, 28 of which are running concurrently.

Because he accepted a plea agreement, Fields’ options for appealing the federal sentence are more limited. The state sentence will run consecutively to his federal sentence.

According to the notice of appeal, Fields is currently being held in a federal prison in West Virginia.


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