Charlottesville: James Alex Fields Jr faces life in prison

James Alex Fields JrImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Mr Fields will be said to have Nazi sympathies

A man suspected of killing a woman near a white supremacist rally in Virginia in August will be facing a possible life sentence after charges against him were upgraded to first-degree murder.

Charges against James Alex Fields Jr were confirmed in an emotional hearing.

He will be accused of ramming his car into anti-fascism protesters, killing Heather Heyer in addition to injuring 35 others.

The incident followed violent protests in Charlottesville over the removal of the statue of a Civil War general.

Mr Fields will be said to have harboured Nazi sympathies.

State District Court Judge Robert H Downer Jr said the court case could proceed, in addition to upgraded the murder charge against him coming from second-degree to first-degree. different lesser charges against the suspect were certified.

Prosecutors will currently seek an indictment before a Grand Jury on Monday.

If found guilty, Mr Fields faces between 20 years in addition to life imprisonment. Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.

Under most US jurisdictions, first-degree murder implies of which an attack will be premeditated in addition to planned, whereas second-degree murder suggests no premeditation.

The parents of Heather Heyer, 32, as well as victims of the attack, attended the preliminary hearing.

Many became emotional as prosecutors played two previously unseen graphic videos of the attack.

One victim, Marcus Martin, swore out loud in addition to stormed out of the courtroom.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Anti-fascist protesters were rammed by your vehicle

Mr Fields showed no reaction to the videos or testimony.

Hundreds of white nationalists convened in Charlottesville on 12 August to protest against the removal of a statue of Gen Robert E Lee, who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.

These groups, which include the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis in addition to different white supremacy organisations, have coalesced under a banner of the so-called “alt-right” movement.

They were challenged by anti-fascist in addition to counter-protesters in addition to the rally erupted into violent clashes.

During the melee, Ms Heyer was struck by a car of which rammed into a crowd of dispersing counter-protesters.

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