Federal hate crime charges filed in Virginia rally death
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Ohio man accused of plowing a car into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., killing a woman and injuring dozens more, now faces federal hate crime charges.
The Department of Justice announced that an indictment returned Wednesday charges James Alex Fields Jr., 21, of Maumee, Ohio, with 30 crimes, including one count of a hate crime resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, and 28 other hate crimes involving an attempt to kill dozens of other people who were injured.
Another charge accuses him of "racially motivated violent interference" with a federally protected activity.
"Last summer's violence in Charlottesville cut short a promising young life and shocked the nation," U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "Today's indictment should send a clear message to every would-be criminal in America that we aggressively prosecute violent crimes of hate that threaten the core principles of our nation."
Authorities have said Fields, described by a former teacher as having a keen interest in Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, drove his speeding car into a group of people demonstrating against the "Unite the Right" rally Aug. 12 that drew hundreds of white nationalists to the college town, where officials planned to remove a Confederate monument.
Fields already faces state charges including first-degree murder and is set to face a jury trial later this year. He has been in custody since the rally. The attorney representing Fields on those counts declined comment today.