Man who drove car into counterprotesters at Charlottesville rally convicted of first-degree murder

James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted of first-degree murder on Friday for driving a car into counterprotesters at a 2017 Charlottesville, Va., rally and killing Heather Heyer.

The jury also found him guilty of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run. He faces six potential life sentences for the murder conviction when sentencing begins Monday.

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Defense attorneys argued that Fields feared for his life and believed he was acting in self-defense. 

The August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville received national attention as protesters descended on the city in response to the planned removal of a Confederate statue.

White nationalists clashed with counterprotesters with Fields later driving his car into a group who had gathered downtown.

On Thursday, a recording surfaced of Fields, a 21-year-old self-professed neo-Nazi, calling Heyer’s mother a “communist” and “anti-white supremacist” while he was in prison last year.

Updated at 5:42 p.m.