CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- A Charlottesville jury convicted James Alex Fields of first degree murder and nine other charges Friday afternoon, after more than a week of testimony.
The 12 person jury, made up of seven women and five men, returned the guilty verdicts after seven hours of deliberation.
Fields, 21, drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters shortly after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last year, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring 19 others.
Fields was facing a first degree murder charge, five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three counts of malicious wounding and a felony hit and run charge.
Attorneys in the case have made it clear from day one that Fields’ trial was not a, “whodunit?” There was video evidence of Fields driving into the crowd, bodies flying and Fields leaving the scene.
Instead, the Commonwealth’s team, made up of Commonwealth’s Attorney Joseph Platania and Senior Assistant Nina Antony, focused on why Fields drove his car into the crowd.
To convict Fields of first degree murder or aggravated malicious wounding, the jury had to believe that Fields had intent, premeditation and malice.
The defense team, made up of Denise Lunsford and John Hill, argued that Fields was being attacked and was acting in self-defense.
Jurors reviewed hundreds of pictures and videos from Aug. 12th and considered witness testimony from 35 different people.
The jury will now have to recommend sentencing for each of Fields’ charges. The jury is expected to hear victim impact statements and make sentencing recommendations next week. Fields’ final sentencing will be decided by Judge Moore at a later date.