- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 29, 2019

The mother of Heather Heyer, the demonstrator killed while protesting the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, dismissed an apology offered Friday in federal court by her daughter’s murderer, James Alex Fields Jr.

“That was a last-ditch attempt to get a reduced sentence,” Susan Bro told reporters afterward. “He’s the least sincere person I’ve ever met.”

Fields, 22, of Maumee, Ohio, addressed his victims in court earlier Friday, nearly two years since killing Heyer and injuring dozens of others by driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

“I apologize for the hurt and loss I’ve caused,” Fields told the court, attendees reported. “Every day I think about how things could have gone differently and how I regret my actions. I’m sorry.”

U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski ultimately sentenced Fields to life imprisonment.

Speaking outside Charlottesville federal court afterward, Ms. Bro said she was “very happy” Fields received a life sentence.

“I did not want the death penalty,” Ms. Bro told reporters. “He probably deserved it but it really wouldn’t accomplish anything. I apologize to the taxpayers for saddling you with this additional burden but in the long run, it was the judge’s call.”

Fields drove from Ohio to attend “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, which was organized by a local white nationalist activist and billed as a rally held in support of a Confederate monument slated to be removed from a city park. The event was called off by authorities amid clashes breaking out between participants and counterprotesters. That violence culminated hours later in the automobile attack that killed Heyer, a 32-year-old anti-racist activist and paralegal.

Fields was sentenced after having pleaded guilty to 29 violations of a federal anti-hate crime statute. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month on separate state charges, including first-degree murder.

Fields is an avowed white supremacist and openly admired Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, according to prosecutors. Defense lawyers had sought a sentence of “less than life.”

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