On Tuesday, the prosecution rested its case against Eddie Ray Routh, accused of killing “American Sniper” hero Chris Kyle and another veteran named Chad Littlefield. Routh’s defense attorneys then began presenting their case, and one of the first witnesses called was Jodi Routh, Routh’s mother.
Routh is accused of shooting and killing Kyle and Littlefield at a shooting range in February 2013, where the two men had brought him to help work through the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Routh was reported to had suffered since serving in the Iraq war and in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Routh has admitted to killing the two men but has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Before the prosecution wrapped their case, they showed jurors a video of Routh in the back of a police car moments after he was arrested after the killings. Routh had led police on a car chase down a Texas highway before he was arrested and appears teary-eyed, agitated, and breathing heavily in the video.
The judge has ruled that the audio from videos produced as evidence are not to be released during the trial. According to a report by CNN, when an officer asked Routh if he was OK, he replied, “I’m just so nervous about what’s been happening in my life today. I don’t know what’s been happening. I’ve been so paranoid schizophrenic all day. I don’t know what to even think of the world right now. I don’t know if I’m insane or sane.”
On the previous day, jurors had watched a video of Routh’s confession while being interviewed by Texas Ranger Danny Briley, as Breitbart Texas reported. Last week’s testimony included Texas Ranger Michael Adcock, who led the investigation at the scene and testified that Kyle and Littlefield had both been shot multiple times in the back, as well as the emotional testimony of Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle.
Prosecutors also played a jailhouse recording of a conversation Routh had with a New Yorker Magazine reporter three months after the killings. In the recording, Routh admits shooting and killing the two men, blaming his actions on being irritated at them and describing the scene at the range as a duel in his view.
“So we’re shooting pistols here huh? Hmmm, OK, Again, that’s pretty much saying duel motherf*****,” says Routh. “”I was like what the f*** are you even doing here man? This isn’t a spectator sport, it’s a shooting sport, you shoot. And that’s what got me all, you know, wired up.”
“I took care of business and then I got in the truck and left,” added Routh.
Jodi Routh, Routh’s mother, testified for the defense, describing her son’s struggles with mental health issues. She had reached out to Kyle to help her son, telling him that he had been admitted to the VA psychiatric unit three times but was not getting the treatment he needed, according to a report by WFAA. Kyle had assured her that he knew what Routh was going through and offered to spend time with him.
Among the details shared by Jodi Routh during her testimony, how, during his last hospitalization, she had begged the doctors not to release him, but the doctors had sent him home anyway with nine prescriptions, including anti-psychotics, sleeping pills, and mood elevators. The date of Routh’s release was January 25, 2013, one week before he would end up killing Kyle and Littlefield.
When cross-examined by prosecutors, Jodi Routh testified that she had not known that Kyle had planned to take Routh to a shooting range, according to a report by KXAN. She also did not tell Kyle about threats that Routh had made to kill himself and his family. “I was just looking for help for my son,” she said.
Kyle was a Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in American military history, serving four tours in Iraq. He received multiple commendations for his service before being honorably discharged from the Navy in 2009. A native Texan, Kyle was born in Odessa and returned to Texas after leaving the Navy. His memoir, American Sniper, was turned into a blockbuster film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper. To honor his life and service, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared February 2nd to be Chris Kyle Day, as Breitbart Texas reported.
The trial is scheduled to reconvene on Wednesday. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, so Routh is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, if he is convicted of capital murder. Breitbart Texas will continue to follow this story.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.