(ABC NEWS) – The man charged with ramming his car into a crowd during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville has been sentenced to life in prison, according to The Associated Press.
James Alex Fields had his sentencing hearing in federal court in Virginia, in the same town where his 2017 car ramming led to the death of a female counter-protester, Heather Heyer, and injured others.
Fields, who is now 22, already pleaded guilty to 29 of 30 federal hate crimes in March. The Associated Press reports that in part of the plea deal that he reached at the time, the prospect of a death sentence was removed.
Both prosecutors and Fields’ lawyers earlier determined that the federal sentencing guidelines suggest a life sentence, but the AP reported that last week his defense attorneys wrote a letter to the district judge asking for a sentence “less than life.”
“No amount of punishment imposed on James can repair the damage he caused to dozens of innocent people. But this Court should find that retribution has limits,” Fields’ attorneys wrote, according to the AP.
Friday’s sentencing in federal court is separate from state charges that he faces in connection to the same incident.
In the state case, a jury recommended a sentence of life plus 419 years, though a separate hearing on that sentence is scheduled for mid July.