*James Fields Jr., the white supremacist who murdered Heather Heyer in 2017 when he plowed his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, was sentenced Friday to life in federal prison.
Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, had sought a lesser sentence and apologized after the court viewed video of him crashing his car into a crowd of peaceful protestors at white supremacist rally on Aug. 12, 2017, injuring 30 people, Reuters reports.
A federal judge slapped the 22-year-old self-described neo-Nazi with a life sentence, saying release would be “too great a risk.”
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Fields avoided the death penalty after he pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges in March, under a deal with prosecutors. His attorneys argued he felt intimidated and ran over dozens of people to protect himself. They asked for mercy, citing his youth and alleged history of mental health diagnoses.
Heather’s mother, Susan Bro, spoke to reporters following the sentencing, saying “theoretically, he caused a lot of harm to the white supremactist movement, for that I’m glad,” she says in the YouTube clip above.
She also hopes her daughter is remembered as someone who stood up for her beliefs.
“The point of Heather’s death is not that she was a saint — and, Lord, my child was never a saint — but that an ordinary person can do a simple act … that can make all the difference in the world,” Bro said in an interview.