CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The mother of a woman killed in a car attack during a white supremacists rally here last year told a jury Monday that her daughter "was full of love, she was full of justice, she was full of fairness" — and that avowed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr. "tried to silence that" by ramming his speeding Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators.
"And I refuse to allow that," Susan Bro testified.
Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, 32, was the prosecution's fourth and final witness at Monday's sentencing hearing for Fields, who was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder and other crimes for an Aug. 12, 2017, act of homicidal vehicular rage.
The same jury that convicted Fields will make a sentencing recommendation to Judge Richard Moore. It began considering his sentence after listening to Heyer's mother and will return Tuesday to continue deliberations.
On Monday, jurors also heard testimony from a defense psychologist who said Fields has a long history of mental health problems, including bipolar disorder.
At his trial, which began Nov. 26, Fields, 21, of Maumee, Ohio, did not deny plowing his muscle car into a group of counterprotesters during the "Unite the Right" rally, at which hundreds of white supremacists and their opponents clashed in the streets. Fields' attorneys contended that he was afraid for his safety and acted to protect himself.
"I don't hate Mr. Fields. I'm leaving him in the hands of justice," Bro testified on Monday. "Almost all members of our family have gone into grief therapy as the darkness has tried to swallow us whole. We are survivors, but we are much sadder survivors. We are forever scarred by the pain."
In addition to first-degree murder, Fields was found guilty of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding and three counts of malicious wounding related to eight of 35 survivors who were injured, many of them seriously.
The murder and aggravated malicious wounding charges are all punishable by 20 years to life behind bars. Each of the malicious wounding counts carries a 5- to 20-year term. Fields also was found guilty of leaving the scene of a fatal crash, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Three injured survivors also described their physical and emotional wounds in harrowing detail to the jury of seven women and five men. One woman, who was identified in court only as Lisa Q, said, "Some days I can't do anything but sit and cry."