STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas Ranger testifying Thursday at the murder trial of a former Marine charged with killing famed Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his friend said the two victims were armed when they were shot multiple times.
Texas Ranger Michael Adcock said it didn’t appear the weapons carried by Kyle and Chad Littlefield were ever removed from their holsters. Their wounds included multiple gunshots to the back.
The case has drawn intense interest, largely because of Kyle’s memoir about being a sniper who served four tours in Iraq. The Oscar-nominated film based on the book has grossed nearly $300 million.
Defense attorneys for Eddie Ray Routh, 27, have said he was insane when Kyle and Littlefield took him to a shooting range in February 2013 to provide support and camaraderie. Routh faces life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder.
Routh’s mother had asked Kyle, whose wartime exploits were depicted in his memoir, to help her son overcome personal troubles.
Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, had testified a day earlier, clutching military dog tags as she told jurors about her final moments with her husband, just hours before he and Littlefield were slain at the range.
Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash described Routh as “a troubled young man” who on the morning of the killings numbed himself with marijuana and whiskey. He said a history of mental illness should not absolve Routh in the deaths.
During opening statements, a defense attorney had revealed a text message exchange between Chris Kyle and Littlefield as they drove to the lodge with Routh, whom Kyle had picked up at his house.
Kyle texted Littlefield: “This dude is straight-up nuts.”
“He’s (sitting) right behind me, watch my six,” Littlefield texted back, using a military term for watching one’s back.
Tim Moore, an attorney for Routh, said Kyle and Littlefield’s text exchange shows how Routh was spiraling out of control. He told jurors that Routh was suffering from severe mental strain that day and thought he needed to kill the two or they would turn on him.
Routh was a small arms technician who served in Iraq and was deployed to earthquake-ravaged Haiti before leaving the Marines in 2010. Authorities say that after the shootings, Routh drove to his sister’s house in Kyle’s truck, admitted to the killings and told his sister “people were sucking his soul.”