WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A special agent with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force said the suspect accused of killing a Charlottesville protester will not face domestic terror charges, since the federal statute does not outline penalties for the crime.
Special Agent Thomas F. O'Connor called on Congress to change the statute, writing an op-ed piece Thursday published in The Hill.
O'Connor made his statements as president of the FBI Agents Association, not on behalf of the active federal investigation.
"Even though many states and localities have adopted penalties for domestic terrorism — and the U.S. Code defines the phrase ‘domestic terrorism'— there are currently no penalties attached to that definition," O'Connor said. "And therefore ‘domestic terrorism' is not a crime in and of itself under federal law."
James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio is currently charged with second-degree murder. Charlottesville Police said he intentionally drove his car into a crowd protesting a rally staged by white nationalists on Aug. 12.
Heather D. Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville was killed in the crash, a sudden and brutal moment that injured at least 19 other people.
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