James Alex Fields Jr., the man convicted of killing activist Heather Heyer at a violent white nationalist rally in Virginia in 2017, has asked a judge to show “mercy” by giving him a sentence shorter than life in prison. In a sentencing memo submitted Friday, lawyers for the 22-year-old white nationalist cited his age, rough childhood, and history of mental illness as reasons to spare him from a life sentence, the Associated Press reports. “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 lawyers were quoted as saying. A sentence shorter than life would be an “expression of mercy,” they said, and a “conviction that no individual is wholly defined by their worst moments.” Fields pleaded guilty to 29 federal hate crime charges in March and reportedly admitted that he’d intentionally driven into a crowd of counter-protesters when he fatally struck Heyer at the Unite the Right rally. His sentencing is scheduled for June 28.
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