This last weekend saw the movie American Sniper receiving many academy awards, after being nominated for many. Directed by Clint Eastwood and hosting an award winning cast, American Sniper was sure to win something. The movie is a memoir of Chris Kyle’s four tours in Iraq as a Navy Seal sniper. Accredited with the kill of over 160 enemy targets, Kyle was the best sniper, so far, in American history. Now, Kyle only “was” the best, not because anyone beat his record, but because he and his friend were murdered in cold blood in 2013.
Eddie Ray Routh has officially been charged with the murder of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield, receiving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, which he got from a judge after being found guilty in the case of the “American Sniper murder.” Nine days of long presentations which included testimony and evidence, have now brought the case to an end after only two hours of deliberation by the jury. Though Routh went in with a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, evidence found the court believing that Routh knew what he was doing, even if he suffered from mental illness.
In 2013 the three men, Routh, Kyle and Littlefield, all traveled to a gun range in Texas. Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield had done work with veterans before, as Kyle advocated strongly in helping veterans get over mental setbacks after their military tours. According to court statements, Kyle and Littlefield were only involved with Routh after his mom asked for Kyle’s help.
Routh had apparently suffered from many mental setbacks since returning from his tour as a marine. Court statements showed that Routh had many daunting tasks in the military, including cleaning up bodies from an earthquake in Haiti and guarding prisoners of war in other locations. He had been admitted to many mental hospitals, where he had received anti-depressants, mood stabilizing medication, and sleep medication. Routh was suffering and needed help.
Kyle and Littlefield apparently knew that something was not right. Evidence presented to the court showed that the two exchanged text messages reflecting their belief that Routh was crazy. Kyle’s wife also presented testimony that Kyle was acting out-of-character when he called her by phone.
Though a gun range was probably not the best place for the three men to be, the continued on to the range in Texas, where Routh supposedly shot Kyle and Littlefield six and seven times in the side and back. He then fled police after supposedly confessing. In the almost two years that Routh has been in jail awaiting trial, he has had many psychotic episodes which led to him being placed on suicide watch and being placed in solitary confinement.
As his lawyers worked to get him a sentence for insanity, mental health professionals declared that Routh was not legally insane but only suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. The fact that Routh was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana on the day he allegedly shot the other two men, was only further evidence against his plea of insanity.
Evidence and testimony was not released to the public until Wednesday morning, after the verdict had been delivered. The fact that American Sniper highlighted Kyle’s life in the military, before coming home to be killed, made it difficult to keep away the publicity. Family, friends, and the general public were all hoping for justice for Kyle and his good friend Littlefield. Then there was the fact that some of the jurors had seen the movie American Sniper. Though, attorneys said that that fact did not hurt their case.
With the end of the case justice was received. Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty and received a life sentence in the “American Sniper murder” of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. After nine days of trial and almost two years of waiting, the trial has finally come to an end. Routh will be appealing the verdict but a change is unlikely with the nature of the crime.
By Crystal Boulware