Criminal Justice

Driver accused of killing paralegal in Charlottesville is indicted on federal hate crimes charges

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Memorial flowers and notes are left at the spot where Heather Heyer was killed and others were injured when a car plowed into a crowd of protesters. Kim Kelley-Wagner /

A driver accused of killing a paralegal protesting white supremacists who staged a “Unite the Right” rally last August in Charlottesville, Virginia, was indicted Wednesday on hate crimes charges.

The driver, 21-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, was accused of killing Charlottesville paralegal Heather Heyer when he plowed his car into a crowd of people protesting the rally’s message.

The federal indictment charged Fields with a hate crime resulting in Heyer’s death, and with racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity that resulted in Heyer’s death. USA Today and the Washington Post have news coverage; a press release is here.

Fields was also charged with and 28 counts of hate crimes causing injury and involving an attempt to kill in connection with the injuries of other people.

“At the Department of Justice, we remain resolute that hateful ideologies will not have the last word and that their adherents will not get away with violent crimes against those they target,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the press release.

Fields is also facing a murder charge in state court. His trial is scheduled for November.

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