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Virginia city hopes to heal after man's murder conviction

Civil rights activists in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, are hoping the first-degree-murder conviction of a man who drove into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally will help heal their scarred community

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Susan Bro, left, mother of Heather Heyer is hugged by a supporter on the steps of the courthouse after a guilty verdict was reached in the trial of James Alex Fields Jr., Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at Charlottesville General district court in Charlottesville, Va. Fields was convicted of first degree murder in the death of Heather Heyer as well as nine other counts during a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville . (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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By DENISE LAVOIE
AP Legal Affairs Writer

Saturday, December 8, 2018

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Civil rights activists in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, are hoping the first-degree-murder conviction of a man who drove into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally will help heal their scarred community.

A state jury delivered a guilty verdict for James Alex Fields Jr. late Friday, rejecting his claims that he acted in self-defense during a “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.

The crash killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Her death came after police forced the rally to disband after participants had clashed with counterdemonstrators earlier.

Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy says he hopes the guilty verdict will allow the city to move forward and to eventually heal.

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