Sunday 19 November 2017

'American Sniper' murder trial could soon go to Texas jury

Eddie Ray Routh, on trial for killing Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield
Eddie Ray Routh, on trial for killing Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield
Eddie Ray Routh, following his arrest
Former US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who is ranked as the most lethal sniper in US military history with 160 confirmed kills
Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

Jon Herskovitz

The trial of a former marine charged with murdering Chris Kyle, the US sniper whose autobiography was turned into the blockbuster movie 'American Sniper' could end as early as Wednesday.

Eddie Ray Routh (27) is accused of fatally shooting Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield multiple times at a gun range about 110 km southwest of Fort Worth in Texas in February 2013.

Defence attorneys are trying to have the 27-year-old declared innocent by reason of insanity and called a psychiatrist to testified he is a paranoid schizophrenic.

Prosecutors, seeking a life sentence without the possibility of parole, contend Routh knew what he was doing and acted deliberately when he shot the two and then fled in their pickup truck.

They called a psychologist who testified Routh has a personality disorder made worse by heavy drug use and has been faking schizophrenia.

Rebuttal witnesses were expected to take the stand on Tuesday, which would then be followed by closing arguments.

After that, the jury of 10 woman and two men at the court in the rural city of Stephenville would begin deliberations.

The trial has focused renewed attention on Kyle, who is credited with the most confirmed kills of an U.S. military sniper, and on the movie "American Sniper."

Routh, who served with the Marines in Iraq and Haiti, had been admitted to Veterans Affairs hospitals after his service to treat mental illness.

His attorneys have not disputed that he shot Kyle and Littlefield, and in court showed a videotape, provided by police, in which Routh admits to the shooting in a rambling speech that they contend attests to his unstable mental state.

Reuters

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