Late on Tuesday night, a Texas jury found former U.S. Marine Eddie Ray Routh guilty of the murders of both American Sniper subject Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield. Routh was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Although Routh’s part in the killings—which took place in 2013 at a Texas gun range—were never in question, his mental state at the time of the murders was, playing a key part in the trial itself. As The Wrap notes, “The fact that he had shot and killed the men was not in dispute, but his defense attorneys had argued that Routh was insane at the time of the shootings. Jurors deliberating the case had three choices—guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. They rejected the insanity defense...”
Witnesses for the defense backed up claims that Routh “suffered from schizophrenia and was in a psychotic state at the time of the killings,” although prosecutors resisted those claims, instead arguing that Routh’s “episodes were self-induced through alcohol and marijuana abuse.”
The relatively short trial was capped by a slim deliberation time, as it reportedly took the jury less than three hours to reach its decision.
As The Wrap reminds us, Kyle’s own widow, Taya Kyle, has been subjected to an extremely surreal last few months, punctuated by both Tuesday’s decision and her attendance of the Oscars on Sunday night. When Fox News chatted with the widow on Sunday night, she shared, “I wanted to support everyone who made this movie representing real veteran families, but I didn’t think I had the energy to show up at the Oscars, let alone be presentable…So, I find myself in a surreal position…like Cinderella who scrubs the floors but has a fairy godmother who got me on a plane and had a dress and jewelry and even the shoes and Spanx waiting for me.”
Earlier this month, it was revealed that viewers of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper could still serve on the trial’s jury, a move that Routh’s defense team objected to quite vigorously. It is currently unknown how many members of the jury (if any) saw the film before the trial started mere weeks ago.
Routh will begin serving his life sentence immediately.