STEPHENVILLE, Texas — A Texas jury ruled on Tuesday evening that Eddie Ray Routh is guilty of murdering “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. Despite everyone agreeing Routh killed the men, defense attorneys claimed Routh was insane.
Prosecutors claimed Routh knew the difference between right and wrong. Routh’s trial comes in the wake of the release of the film about Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, often referred to as the most deadliest sniper in U.S. history, with 160 confirmed kills in Iraq.
Jurors returned the verdict Tuesday in less than three hours against Eddie Ray Routh, whose attorneys had mounted an insanity defense and said he suffered from psychosis. Since prosecutors didn’t seek the death penalty in the capital murder case, the 27-year-old receives an automatic life sentence without parole for the Feb. 2, 2013 killings.
Prosecutors said Routh was drinking and smoking marijuana, the morning he killed Kyle and Littlefield. They argued he was paranoid because he was high and was angry about living with his parents, money, and his job. He then finally exploded after Kyle and Littlefield snubbed him.
Kyle took his two friends to the range as a kind of therapy. The range is part of the 11,000 acre Rough Creek Lodge and the group was isolated from the rest of the Lodge. A hunting guide found Kyle, 38, and Littlefield, 35, who also was a veteran, motionless and called 911. The men were dead when officers arrived.
STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Lawyers in the trial of the murder of ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle have finally selected its jury on Monday. Lawyers estimated no more than two dozen people were dismissed from service because of publicity about the case.
The jury is made up of 10 women and two men who will decide the fate of Eddie Ray Routh, who is charged with capital murder in the deaths of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield. Prosecutors say Kyle and Littlefield were attempting to help Routh when Routh shot them at a Texas gun range in 2013.
The film by Clint Eastwood, ‘American Sniper’ based on Kyle’s legacy as a heroic sniper who spent four tours in Iraq has earned nearly $300 million at the box office. As a result of the attention garnered by the Kyle case, the court brought in four times as many jurors as they normally do for regular cases. However, it only took one day to select the final jury.
Despite the depiction of Kyle’s funeral in the film, the jury was only asked if they could put aside what they had already heard. Routh’s attorneys plan to pursue an insanity defense. Prosecutors won’t seek the death penalty. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.
Monday, February 2 marks the second anniversary of the death of Chris Kyle. I still can’t watch his wife, Taya, talk about it without feeling an open wound in my heart. The funeral televised from the Cowboy’s Stadium was amazing, but painful. The kind of pain that knocks the wind out of you and takes your breath away. The kind of pain that leaves you gasping for air just to prove that this is real and not a horrible nightmare.
I have no personal ties to the Kyle family, but there is something between military wives that I can’t explain. We all dance between the world of wives and widows experiencing a mixture of relief and survivor’s guilt with each knock on a neighbor’s door.
Chris went into a war zone with a bounty on his head and a target on his back. He did four tours in Iraq. He was shot twice and escaped six IED blasts. The minute the first shot rang out from his gun he gave away his location, but he made it home….only to be killed on United States soil by a fellow soldier in a place that was as familiar as home to a sniper, the gun range.
Knowing how the movie ends I still haven’t been able to watch it. If you read the book, American Sniper, then you have read about Chris’s life in his own words. He was a Texan all the way; bigger than life.
Chris grew up hunting, played sports, and went on to be a professional rodeo cowboy. However, he injured his arm bringing his rodeo career to an end. After his arm healed he joined the military ultimately working his way into SEAL Team 3 becoming a sniper.
There is a famous story about the first shot Chris took during his sniper career. The story was originally reported by CNN and later told by Chris in his book American Sniper. According to the tale, a woman, cradling a toddler, was moving towards a group of Marines carrying a grenade. Chris took the shot killing her and saving the Marines. The quote from his book read, “The woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn’t take any Marines with her.”
The insurgents named him, Shaitan Ar-Ramadi (‘The Devil of Ramadi’). However, Chris admitted during an interview that he didn’t think the insurgents could tell the difference between him and other snipers.
When Chris returned home he started a company training law enforcement and the military. He worked with non-profits to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder. He went on a reality television show. He wrote a book. And he gave lots and lots of interviews. America fell in love with their American sniper. His straight shooting Texas charm gave a human quality to the Devil of Ramadi.
The details of Chris’s death still seem vague. The trial for Eddie Ray Routh, the man accused of killing Chis, is set for this month. Perhaps the world will have a better understanding then of how a hero can escape a war zone and be killed on US soil by a man he called a friend.
Chris left behind a wife and two children.
Thanks to the state of Texas he also left behind a legacy that will help other veterans. On August 2013, then Texas governor, Rick Perry, signed the “Chris Kyle Bill” to recognize military training in order to obtaining occupational licenses in the state of Texas.
The governor current governor, Greg Abbott, declared February 2, “Chris Kyle Day”.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott declares February 2 Chris Kyle Day
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his plans to declare February 2 as “Chris Kyle Day” in Texas. While Abbott made this announcement, a petition has begun to award Kyle the Medal of Honor. Chris Kyle is known as the deadliest sniper in American military history. He’s also the subject of the Clint Eastwood film “American Sniper.” Abbott spoke to Fox News saying he’s honoring Kyle in this way because he is an American hero.
Kyle served four tours in Iraq saving thousands of lives. Kyle has come under heavy fire from liberal Hollywood elitists calling him a coward and a soldier who went on killing sprees. Governor Abbott made the announcement on Friday during a veteran’s event. “In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero – a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield – I am declaring February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in Texas. We will commemorate his passing. But more importantly, remembering his answering of the call of duty.”
His full speech is below:
It’s an honor to be here with all of you who’ve served our country. America is the brightest beacon of freedom the world has ever known for one simple reason – because of you – our veterans, the men and women who put service above self.
My extended family looks a lot like this crowd today – they’ve served in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. My brother Gary served 20 years in the United States Navy and served in the Persian Gulf at the same time as you, Roy. I’ve seen firsthand the sacrifice you and your families have made.
In times of war and in times of peace, heroes among us have stepped forward. You are those heroes. You stood in the face of dangers known and unknown and protected us from threats from around the world. You sacrificed so much, asked for so little in return, other than the freedom you fought do defend. On behalf of all Texans, I want to thank you for your commitment to our country.
Texans have played a powerful role in defending this nation. More than a million have served. Many more have trained and lived on military installations in the Lone Star State. And today, Texas is the proud home to almost two million veterans, active-duty military, Reserve & National Guard and their families.
I am grateful to the Texas VFW for all you do to help those who have served. The support, fellowship and financial assistance you provide for our Texas veterans, for those on active duty and for those who return home broken from battle is critical to ensure our veterans are respected, that their sacrifices are recognized and their return to civilian life is eased.
But there is more we must do. First we must improve your access to healthcare. No veteran who has fought for this country should be denied access to healthcare because of bureaucratic bungling at the Veteran’s Administration. Having served on the frontlines, you should go to the front of the line to get the healthcare you need.
The VA in Washington is falling short of its obligations. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the RGV. Even the President recognizes this. On a trip to the RGV in 2008, Barack Obama said, “We need a VA hospital right here in the Valley.” Veterans shouldn’t have to drive 200 miles for treatment. It’s now 2015 and I’m calling on the President to keep his word. It’s time to build that VA hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. This week – as Governor – I sent a request to the President asking that he fulfill his promise to build that hospital to care for our veterans in the RGV.
The timing couldn’t be better. We’re opening a new medical school and a state-of-the-art hospital at UTRGV. The co-location of a VA hospital at UTRGV would be a force multiplier ensuring that the growing number of veterans in South Texas have access to first rate healthcare.
That first rate care includes mental healthcare. If a veteran or service member asks for help with PTSD, we can’t allow the backlog at the VA to prevent timely care. I am calling on the Texas Legislature to provide mental health screenings to veterans and service members at no cost.
We must also do more to help veterans in the job market. Texas leads the nation in job creation and yet the unemployment rate for our veterans remains high. That is unacceptable.
By lowering financial barriers, we can help Texas veterans create new jobs for yourselves and for others. That’s why I am asking the Texas Legislature to exempt new businesses – formed by veterans – from having to pay registration fees to the state to open their businesses. I’m also recommending that newly formed, veteran-owned businesses be exempt from paying state franchise taxes for the first five years. And I’m asking state licensing agencies to waive licensing exams and fees for veterans with the required education, training and practical experience gained in the military. If the training you received as an electrician, a technician or a lineman meets the standard of the United States Military, it should be good enough for the state of Texas.
As Governor, I will constantly work to find ways like these to help our veterans. It’s our duty to help those who helped make America so exceptional. And it’s our duty to honor those whose sacrifice has preserved our freedom.
Along those lines, I wanted you to be the first to know…In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero – a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield – I am declaring February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in Texas. We will commemorate his passing. But more importantly, remembering his answering of the call of duty.
We thank Chris Kyle and all of you for your service and sacrifice. And we rededicate ourselves to a cause greater than ourselves. To freedom for our children, their children and for generations yet to be born. May God bless you and all who wear the uniform of the United States of America.
Chris Kyle was tragically killed in 2013 at a local gun range, by a fellow veteran.
If Clint Eastwood said ‘American Sniper’ is about a hero who fought for our country’s freedom against radical terrorism, the right would be in a roar of agreement and challenge anyone against those views with passion. In opposition, if left-wing actors like Michael Moore, Seth Rogen and “comedian” Bill Maher said that Chris Kyle was a psychopath who murdered innocent people and was a coward for hiding, in tall, dry, grass while handling sniper rifles, the left would hang on it and run with it for miles without ever seeing the movie.
And that’s exactly what happened.
A “Twitter war” broke out between actors and celebrities on whether Chris Kyle, the famous sniper who made over 160 confirmed kills, was either a national hero or a psychopathic war-lover who enjoyed blowing people’s heads off. The left has also been pointing their fingers at the director of the film Clint Eastwood for simply giving Chris Kyle a film and exercising his 1st Amendment rights by comparing his film to Nazi propaganda.
Seth Rogen later back-pedaled on his twitter comments and apologized.
However, neither views that Kyle was a great hero or that Kyle was a murderous psychopath is supported by the movie itself. In fact, Eastwood himself has commented that he is dismayed by attempts to ascribe political meanings to the movie. “Pardon me for sounding defensive, but it certainly has nothing to do with any (political) parties or anything,”Eastwood told The Star, in an interview. “These fellows who are professional soldiers, Navy personnel or what have you, go in for a certain reason. Their commander-in-chief (U.S. President Barack Obama) is a Democrat and the administration is, and there’s no political aspect there other than the fact that a lot of things happen in war zones.”
The star of the movie who played Kyle, Bradley Cooper told the Daily Beast, “The guy that I got to know, through all the source material that I read and watched, and home videos—hours and hours—I never saw anything like that. But I can’t control how people are gonna use this movie as a tool, or what they pick and choose whatever they want. But it would be short-changing, I think.”
The movie draws less from the idea that Chris Kyle was a war hero who took down the Iraqi terrorists who waged war on their own people. And more on the idea that the human man Chris Kyle experienced emotional and psychological hardship from being deployed multiple times in such a war-torn country and then coming back home to his family. It also expounded upon the stresses and the emotional hardship his wife bravely struggled through, knowing that Kyle could be killed any second in Iraq.
What’s most disappointing is not Eastwood’s personal analysis that Chris Kyle is a hero, but that men who would never sign up to serve our country in the time of crisis are willing to demean and slander the name of a man who actually died trying to help a friend overcome PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
The leftist criticism on ‘American Sniper’ has been used to gain 15 minutes of fame and to rile people up against a man they don’t even know personally for political upheaval. The movie’s success of $105 million on its opening weekend is proof enough to show that Americans who support the movie aren’t looking for an affirmation of their political faith, they are looking for a good, honest film about a soldier named Chris Kyle.