Self-avowed white supremacist asks for mercy in sentencing in fatal Charlottesville attack
The avowed white supremacist who plowed his car into counterdemonstrators opposing a white nationalist rally in Virginia two years ago, killing one person and injuring dozens, has asked a judge for mercy and a sentence shorter than life in prison.
Lawyers for James Alex Fields Jr., 22, said in a sentencing memo submitted in court documents Friday that the defendant should not spend his entire life in prison because of his age, a traumatic childhood and a history of mental illness. Fields pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes in March and is set to be sentenced on June 28.
“No amount of punishment imposed on James can repair the damage he caused to dozens of innocent people. But this Court should find that retribution has limits,” his attorneys wrote.
But prosecutors countered that the avowed anti-Semite and Adolf Hitler admirer has shown no remorse since he drove the car into the counterdemonstrators on Aug. 12, 2017, killing anti-racism activist Heather Heyer and injuring others protesting against the white nationalists.
The attorneys for Fields said that giving him something less than a life sentence would be akin to an “expression of mercy” and a “conviction that no individual is wholly defined by their worst moments.”
But prosecutors said Friday that Fields deserves a life sentence, adding that would help deter others from committing “similar acts of domestic terrorism.”