The Charlottesville driver accused of ramming his car into a crowd of protesters in Virginia and killing one woman on Aug. 12, 2017, was charged with federal hate crimes on Wednesday.
James Alex Fields Jr. will be tried for 29 counts of hate crime acts, reported BBC.
Fields is accused of causing the death of Heather Heyer when he drove into a crowd of protesters in North Carolina, including members of Antifa, who were demonstrating against a white nationalist rally called Unite the Right. Video of the incident was recorded and circulated on social media. (RELATED: Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz Advises Trump To Pick Non-Partisan Justice For Supreme Court)
“Last summer’s violence in Charlottesville cut short a promising young life and shocked the nation,” said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement on Wednesday, reported The New York Times. “Today’s indictment should send a clear message to every would-be criminal in America that we aggressively prosecute violent crimes of hate that threaten the core principles of our nation.”
Fields could be sentenced to life in prison or even face the death penalty if he is found to have hate crime motives under U.S. law, reported BBC.
Fields is also charged at the state level in Virginia. He is currently in jail without bail.
The Unite the Right rally was sparked by the planned removal of a statue of a Confederate general.
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