Fields Trial Day 12: Jury Recommends Sentence of More than 400 Years for Fields
Jurors are recommending James Alex Fields, Junior be given a life sentence, plus 419 years in prison and fines totaling $480,000.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Jurors are recommending James Alex Fields, Junior be given a life sentence, plus 419 years in prison and fines totaling $480,000.
The jury of seven women and five men returned with its recommendations shortly after noon Tuesday, December 11:
- First-degree murder: life sentence with a fine of $100,000
- Aggravated malicious wounding (five counts): 70 years and a fine of $70,000 on each count
- Malicious wounding (three counts): 20 years and a fine of $10,000 on each count
- Leaving the scene: nine years.
"I don't hate him [Fields], but by God, the kid is messed up," said Susan Bro, Heather Heyer’s mother, after the jury handed down its sentencing recommendation Tuesday.
“James Fields, Junior received the sentence he deserved for Heather's murder. Getting the maximum sentence reflected the severity and the atrocity of the crime," said Star Peterson, who was injured by Fields in the car attack. Peterson was also called to testify during the trial.
Judge Richard Moore accepted the jury's verdicts, but will not impose a sentence yet. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 29, 2019.
"Justice has him [Fields] where he needs to be, and my daughter is still not here, and the other survivors still have their wounds to deal with. So we've all been damaged by this personally, but we do survive. We do move forward," Bro said.
“We are unable to heal their physical injuries or bring Heather back, but hopeful they are able to take some measure of comfort and solace from these convictions and sentences," said Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joseph Platania.
The judge answered two questions from the jury earlier Tuesday:
- Whether the sentences run consecutively or concurrently. The judge said that normally in Virginia, sentences run consecutively – one after another. The jury may recommend they run concurrently – all at once - but the judge does not have to honor that. For example: If three charges each carry 10 years, consecutively means a total of 30 years behind bars, while concurrently means 10 years total.
- The possibility of parole later in Fields' life. Judge Moore said he can't answer that, but instructed jurors to impose each sentence as they see appropriate. Virginia abolished parole with the implementation of the Truth in Sentencing Act in 1995. Anyone convicted after that date is required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.
Fields still faces dozens of federal charges for the same deadly incident.