Marine has been found guilty of murdering famed US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the American Sniper, at a gun range

February 25, 2015 6:03 pm

A marine has been found guilty of murdering famed Navy SEAL Chris Kyle at a gun range two years ago.
Eddie Ray Routh,
27, was convicted by a court in Stephenville, Texas for shooting Kyle
and Chad Littlefield multiple times in February 2013, then fleeing in
Kyle’s pickup truck.
Jurors decided not to declare him not guilty
by reason of insanity. He will serve life in prison without possibility
of parole, after prosecutors decided not to pursue the death penalty.
The
jury, which reached its decision after just two and a half hours, was
made up of ten women and two men. Their verdict was unanimous.
Before
the jury retired to consider its verdict, crime scene analyst Ryan
Howard said Kyle’s gun wounds were close together, suggesting he had
been hit in the spinal cord and had not moved much when he was struck.

“He absolutely never saw this coming,” he told the court.

The man accused of murdering Chris Kyle, the American Sniper, has denied killing him. Eddie Ray Routh's lawyers have put forward a defense of insanity.
The man accused of murdering Chris Kyle, the
American Sniper, has denied killing him. Eddie Ray Routh’s lawyers have
put forward a defense of insanity.

Last
week, a psychiatrist testified that Routh is a paranoid schizophrenic
and showed signs of psychosis that could not be faked.
The jury
heard how Routh gunned down the men after believing they – and other
people around him, including his colleagues and girlfriend – were
human-pig hybrids. If he did not kill them, they were going to kill him,
he told the psychiatrist.
Routh’s friends and family have also
testified that his behavior in the weeks before the shootings was
increasingly erratic and that ‘he did not seem all there’ after gunning
down the two men.
They said he was unable to care for himself,
acted as if he believed that someone was going to hurt him and thought
that the government was listening to him.
“It was clear that he
was psychotic,” Mitchell Dunn, a forensic psychiatrist for the defence,
told the court on Thursday. “There was no question about that.”

Seinfeld defence

But prosecutors contended Routh knew what he was doing and acted deliberately when he shot the two and then fled.
They
called a psychologist who testified Routh has a personality disorder
made worse by heavy drug use and has been faking schizophrenia, calling
his condition “cannabis-induced psychosis”.
Routh’s uncle had
previously testified that they shared some potent marijuana and perhaps
consumed whiskey on the morning of the shooting.
“In my opinion,
he did know what he was doing was wrong, and he did it anyway,” said Dr
Randall Price, the forensic psychologist.
On Friday, Dr Price
repeatedly accused Routh of “setting the stage” for an insanity defense
and suggested Routh may have gotten the idea from Seinfeld or the TV
show Boss Hog.
In a Seinfeld episode, one character, Kramer, believes he has discovered a “pig-man”.
“I don’t know for a fact that he saw that episode of Seinfeld but I do know that he’s watched Boss Hog,” Dr Price said.
“For a long time, he’s talked a lot about pigs to a lot of people. So it’s suspicious.”
He
and another prosecution expert, Dr Michael Arambula, said Routh’s
actions did not meet the legal definition of insanity under state
criminal law.
“Any time intoxication is present, the game is over,” Dr Arambula testified.
The
trial has focused renewed attention on Kyle, who is credited with the
most confirmed kills of an US military sniper, and on the movie American
Sniper, which was based on his memoir.
Routh, who served with
the Marines in Iraq and Haiti, had been admitted to Veterans Affairs
hospitals on multiple occasions after his service to treat mental
illness.
Prosecutors said Routh did not see combat in his overseas deployments.
Routh’s
attorneys never disputed that he shot Kyle and Littlefield, and instead
rested their case on whether he was in a psychotic state at the time of
the killing.
In videotape provided by police and shown in court
in the rural Texas city of Stephenville, Routh admits to the shooting in
a rambling speech that defense attorneys contend attests to his
unstable mental state.

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