After being convicted of the murder of activist Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others when he plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters during the infamous Charlottesville rally, James Alex Fields Jr. is begging the judge responsible for his sentencing to show him mercy.
WJLA reports that Fields’ legal team believes that the 22-year-old should not spend the rest of his life in prison due to his age, his traumatic childhood and his history of mental illness.
“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,” his attorneys wrote in a sentencing memo submitted on Friday.
Additionally, his attorney’s pointed out that “no individual is wholly defined by their worst moments” and leniency in his sentencing would be appreciated as an “expression of mercy.”
Prosecutors countered that the Adolf Hitler admirer and devout anti-Semite has yet to demonstrate any remorse for his actions and should be punished accordingly. They also pointed to years of documented racist behavior exhibited by Field prior to taking Heyer’s life and that he was recorded on a jail phone call last month making inflammatory remarks about Heyer’s mother.
Prosecutors also refused to accept Fields’ history of mental illness as an excuse for his behavior.
“Any mental health concerns raised by the defendant do not overcome the defendant’s demonstrated lack of remorse and his prior history of substantial racial animus,” prosecutors wrote.
Fields struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors to take the death penalty off of the table, but under federal sentencing guidelines, he’s expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Fields sentencing is scheduled for June 28.