“American Sniper” Murderer Found Guilty

2015-02-25
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On February 2, 2013, Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield took Eddie Ray Routh to the shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort at the request of Routh’s mother who believed her son was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in Iraq and Haiti in 2010.

Routh was taking prescription anti-psychotic medication used in the treatment of schizophrenia. In his paranoia, he believed the two men planned to kill him. Routh killed them instead, later telling a reporter “I had to take care of business. I took care of business, and then I got in the truck and left … It tore my (expletive) heart out when I did it.”

Later that afternoon, an employee at the resort found the bodies of Kyle and Littlefield, each with several bullet wounds. Authorities say that about 45 minutes later, Routh visited his sister in Kyle’s truck; he told her that he had killed two people. She later called police.

Police found Routh sitting in Kyle’s truck in front of his home. While officers tried to coax Routh from the truck, Routh made several comments that brought questions about his sanity to light, including: “I don’t know if I’m going insane” and “Is this about hell walking on earth right now?”

Routh eventually fled in the truck after police were unsuccessful in coaxing him from the vehicle. A chase ensued that led to the eventual capture and arrest of Routh who was charged with capital murder.

Lancaster police Lt. Michael Smith testified in court that Routh said “he’d taken a couple of souls and he had more souls to take.”

Jurors who listened to testimony in the trial had three choices in their verdict: find Routh guilty of capital murder, find him not guilty, or find him not guilty by reason of insanity.

While mental stability was in question, a forensic psychologist testified that Routh was not legally insane and believed that he had attempted to portray insanity with ideas he received from television. He also stated that Routh suffered from a paranoid disorder that was exacerbated by alcohol and marijuana. Rather than defining Routh’s mental instability as “legally insane”, it was instead considered “cannabis-induced psychosis.”

The Texas jury found Routh guilty of capital murder. Since prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, Routh will automatically serve a life sentence without parole. His defense team plans on appealing the conviction.

Kyle was a former Navy Seal and had the most recorded kills of any US sniper. Kyle’s memoirs about four tours of duty in Iraq were turned into the movie “American Sniper”, directed by Clint Eastwood, which was nominated for best film at the Oscars this year.

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