On Wednesday morning, a judge sentenced Eddie Ray Routh to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, after receiving a verdict of guilty from the jurors. The men and women on the jury took only two hours to deliberate. Since the death penalty was not sought in the case of Routh against Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield, the judge quickly imposed a sentence that will see Routh spending his life behind bars. Though Eddie Ray Routh can fight the judges decision, it is unlikely that the sentence will be changed, after being found guilty in the American Sniper murder.
It was nearly two years ago that Routh gunned down Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. The three ex-military men were at a shooting range having a good time, when things quickly made a turn for the worse. It seems, according to evidence, that Routh shot both Kyle and Littlefield. Though Routh claimed a plea of not guilty by insanity, a mental health professional declared that, while Routh suffered from post traumatic stress disorder from his service as a marine, he was not legally insane and knew what he was doing when he shot the two men.
The trial was a long one. Testimony and evidence was presented for nine days. Heartfelt words came from family and friends of Kyle and Littlefield, and angry words came from prosecutors and other professionals. In his defense, lawyers stated that Routh was suffering from mental disabilities and believed that Kyle and Littlefield were going to turn on him. He was also supposedly under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. But the other side of the story is what made this trial so difficult for everyone.
The issue at large was the hope for justice for the victims. Chris Kyle, the man who wrote American Sniper, was an ex-Navy Seal sniper who worked daily to provide ex-military with help for their mental illnesses after coming back from war. According to testimony, Routh’s mom asked Kyle to help her son, as he was having problems adjusting after coming back from his tour. This was supposedly the reason why the three men were at the Texas gun range in 2013. With the movie, American Sniper, grossing over $400 million the new found popularity of it brought much publicity to the case.
American Sniper is a recently released movie that memoirs Kyle’s four tours in Iraq as a military sniper. Directed by Clint Eastwood, it won many academy awards and had many other nominations. Kyle was a sniper who was accredited with taking out the most targets. Altogether in his military career he took out more than 160 enemy targets. Though his work in the military, as well as his work helping veterans after the military, was full of confidence and strength, it was clear that Kyle and Littlefield believed that they were out of their league when they became involved with Eddie Ray Routh.
Texts between Kyle and Littlefield apparently showed their beliefs that Routh was “straight-up crazy.” Kyle’s wife also said that a phone call made to her presented Kyle as very out of character. The reason why the men continued to the gun range when they supposedly felt Routh was unfit, is unknown. As well, the reason why Routh shot the two men has not been said and can only be speculated, but according to police, he did admit to killing the two men when police confronted him.
According to evidence gathered, Routh had had a very difficult time after his service in the Marines. His attorneys claimed he had been hospitalized four times in seven months for mental issues, where he was given anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and sleep medication. During his time in jail, awaiting trial, he also had many episodes such as attacking guards, being placed on suicide watch, and even being put in solitary confinement.
The nature of the crime, however, apparently showed that the mental problems were not enough to gain an insanity verdict. Prosecution attorneys pointed to the fact that Routh shot Kyle and Littlefield in the back and side, six and seven times. Then there was the fact that Routh also fled from police. Prosecutors said he knew exactly what he was doing. After Routh was found guilty in the American Sniper murder, the judge officially sentenced Eddie Ray Routh to life in prison, without the possibility for parole.
By Crystal Boulware