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Dad forgives ‘stupid’ man charged with murdering his daughter in Charlottesville

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. --  The father of the woman killed after Saturday's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville said he forgives the man accused of murdering his daughter. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a Unite the Right rally participant from Ohio drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Heather's father Mark said he learned about his daughter's death when Heather's mother called him.

Flowers surround a photo of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting against the white supremacist Unite the Right rally, August 13, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"Through tears and from the hospital she said our daughter's gone," Mark Heyer told WESH. "I kind of lost it, I kind of freaked, you know?"

He called Heather a "strong opinionated woman" who was "willing to stand up for what she believed in."

Heather was among a group of protesters who showed up Saturday to counter white nationalists who attended the Unite the Right rally.

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, attended the rally.

James Alex Fields at Charlottesville rally

Afterwards, police said, he got into his car and rammed into the opposition demonstrators.

Fields, who a former teacher said had "outlandish, very radical beliefs," and a "fondness" for Adolf Hitler, was charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.

Despite the crime he's accused of committing, Mark Heyer said he held no ill will toward Fields.

"He's stupid, okay? He's only 20 years old. He doesn't have sense enough to make a life long decision about nothing," he said. "You know, I forgive him. Flat out, just I forgive him. The thing is, he's going to have to live with the consequences and he's going to have to live knowing that he took somebody's life for the rest of his life."

Fields remains jailed without bond.

He is due back in court next week.