James Fields Jr., a white supremacist who rammed his car into counter-protesters of a Charlottesville, Va., “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release on hate crime charges, reports USA Today. Fields, 22, of Maumee, Oh., told U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski, “I apologize for the hurt and loss I’ve caused. Every day I think about how things could have gone differently and how I regret my actions. I’m sorry.” Urbanski said Fields’ actions were premeditated and “doesn’t demonstrate a crime born out of impulse, youth or mental illness.” He called Fields a “disturbed young man.”
Fields, who had a history of pro-Nazi social media postings and who adorned text messages with photos of Adolf Hitler, pleaded guilty in March to 29 federal hate crimes. U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said he believes the life sentence will send a message to other extremists who might attempt similar actions. Fields will be sentenced July 15 on a separate state charge of murder. A jury has recommended a sentence of life, plus 419 years. At Friday’s hearing, prosecutors presented film of the Aug. 12, 2017 attack and samples of Fields’ social media postings and recordings of phone conversations with his mother while in jail.