James Alex Fields Jr., the driver who killed activist Heather Heyer in Charlottesville at the “Unite The Right” rally in 2017, plead guilty to federal hate crimes on Wednesday.
According to NBC News, the 21-year-old Maumee, Ohio, native plead guilty to 29 charges out of the 30 against him from the attack against counter-protestors on August 12, 2017.
The last charge, serving as a potential death penalty sentence was dropped. The charge was filed against Fields Jr. under the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which accused him of “racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity, ” which applies to the counter-protestors utilizing the streets in Charlottesville and being on the sidewalks.
Before the ruling on Wednesday, the attacker was convicted for the death of 32-year-old Heyer and wounding a dozen others.
In a different federal prosecution prior to Wednesday’s ruling, Fields plead not guilty to “30 hate crime charges,” with one being a potential death sentence.
Susan Bro, the mother of Heyer, said she was assured that her days appearing in court would come to an end before the hearing on Wednesday. It was also her hope not to be exposed to “more of the hateful rhetoric.”
“I’m hoping this can be the end of it,” Bro said before Fields plea change.
From Field’s deadly car attack, more than 30 people were injured.
The “Unite The Right” rally brought hundreds of white nationalists together to protest the University of Virginia’s plan to dismantle the state of confederate soldier, Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Although the state judge hasn’t ruled on how Fields will be punished, jurors ruled him guilty of murder and suggested he not only be sentenced to life in prison, plus 419 years. The decision is set for July 15.
After the unfortunate attack, President Donald Trump said “both sides” were to blame for the violence. Critics viewed his statement as an effort to not “condemn racism.”