Mother of Charlottesville car attack victim sues murderer

Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heye
Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed in 2017 during a white supremacist rally, filed a $12 million lawsuit Aug. 30 against 22-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The mother of a woman killed when a man rammed his car through a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, is suing the convicted murderer for wrongful death.

Susan Bro filed a $12 million lawsuit Aug. 30 against 22-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., who is now serving life sentences plus 419 years on numerous convictions.

Bro told the Daily Progress, which first reported on the lawsuit, she doesn’t want Fields’ “blood money.” She said she just wants to make sure he can’t profit from selling the rights to his story or publishing a memoir.

In a follow-up email to WTOP, Bro repeated her desire that Fields not profit from his crime, citing the examples of Charles Manson and John Hinkley Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan.

She also said, “We want to send a strong message to others who would use murder as a hate crime that there are ongoing financial consequences on top of criminal consequences.”

Fields is an avowed white supremacist who killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens more when he plowed his car through a throng of people protesting the “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017.

The lawsuit cites negligent and wrongful death, gross negligence, assault and battery, malicious wounding and intentional wrongful death. Fields’ actions “were done with rage and intended to cause” harm, the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.

Fields was convicted in December of first-degree murder in Heyer’s death, the jury finding that he intentionally plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters. During the trial, Fields’ lawyers had argued he was acting in self-defense.

Earlier this year, Fields pleaded guilty to 29 federal hate crimes as part of a deal with prosecutors that let him avoid the death penalty.

After her daughter’s death, Bro co-founded the Heather Heyer Foundation, which works on justice-related causes and provides scholarships.

WTOP’s Jack Moore and Neal Augenstein contributed to this report. 

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