Written by: Andrea Martin. Media by: Garrett Streeter.[divide]
Guilty Verdict in ‘American Sniper’ Trial
Eddie Ray Routh, a 27-year-old former Marine, was convicted of first-degree murder in which his defense that he was not sane at the time of the murders. The jury didn’t buy the defense, and sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole. Routh will appeal the verdict.
Judy Littlefield, the mother of Chad Littlefield, one of the victims, addressed the media after the verdict.
“We’ve waited two years for God to get justice for us on behalf of our son and, as always, God has proved to be faithful. We’re so thrilled that we have the verdict that we have tonight.”
The jury had three choices to pick from: guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. The main defense for Routh consisted of him dealing with schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and was overcome by an episode that caused him to lash out against Kyle and Littlefield.
Routh did not deny the killings, but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Kyle volunteered his time to help veterans struggling with PTSD and other combat-induced anxiety. Jodi Routh approached Kyle and asked for him to help her son, who was honorably discharged from the military in 2010.
Key highlights from the trial include:
• Text messages between Kyle and Littlefield as they drove Routh to the shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort near Fort Worth, in which Kyle described their passenger as being “straight-up nuts.”
• A phone call from Taya Kyle to her husband while the three were on the shooting range, minutes before he was killed, where Chris Kyle was uncharacteristically curt on the phone.
• Forensics testimony from law enforcement officials that revealed Kyle was shot six times in the side and back and Littlefield shot seven times in the side, back and head – each with a different caliber handgun.
• Details from Routh’s confession to police where the defendant said he thought “pigs were taking over the earth” and was upset that Littlefield wasn’t participating at the shooting range.
On Feb. 2, 2013, Routh shot and killed Kyle, 38, and Littlefield, 35, at a shooting range near Fort Worth.
Routh fled the scene in Kyle’s pickup truck and led police on a short chase through Lancaster, Texas, his hometown. His sister had phoned the police after Routh had showed up at her house, telling her that he had killed two men. Kyle gained national attention after he wrote a memoir entitled “American Sniper,” which told of his deployments and work in the military as a sniper. He is often called the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills. His memoir was made into a movie of the same name that starred Bradley Cooper and was directed by Clint Eastwood.