KKK leader gets 4 years for firing gun at 2017 Charlottesville rally
A self-identified Ku Klux Klan leader was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison for illegally firing a weapon during last year’s white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., The Daily Progress reported.
A judge sentenced Richard Preston Jr. to eight years in prison with four years suspended, according to the newspaper. He pleaded no contest earlier this year to a charge of firing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school property.
Prosecutors presented video evidence in May showing Preston drawing a pistol and firing at an African-American counterprotester during the rally last year.
Judge Richard E. Moore told Preston on Tuesday that he was fortunate his actions didn’t cause a worse situation.
“I think you came looking for a fight and you got what you were looking for,” Moore said, according to the Daily Progress.
Moore also disagreed with Preston’s defense attorney’s claim that Preston was acting in self-defense, per the newspaper.
“This whole thing was driven by anger and belligerence, not fear,” Moore said. “I don’t find you were saving anyone’s life.”
Self-professed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr., the man accused of driving his car into a crowd of counterprosters during the rally and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, is slated to head to trial in November.