Eddie Ray was convicted Tuesday in the deaths of the “American Sniper” author and another man at a shooting range, as jurors belive that he wan’tÂ insane and didn’t sufferÂ from psychosis.
The trial of the former MarineÂ has drawn interest, in part because of the blockbuster film based on former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s memoir about his four tours in Iraq.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 25, 2015
AsÂ prosecutors didn’t seek the death penalty in the capital murder case, the gunmanÂ receivedÂ an automatic life sentence without right for parole in the deathsÂ of two men.
The prosecution described the convictÂ as a terrible drug user who knew right from wrong, despite any mental illnesses. While trial testimony and evidence often included Routh making odd statements and referring to insanity, he also confessed several times, apologized for the crimes and tried to evade police.
“Criminal law experts said the verdict hinged on whether the defense could prove Routh was insane and did not know the killings were wrong at the time they were committed. Jurors had three options: Find Routh guilty of capital murder, find him not guilty, or find him not guilty by reason of insanity. If found not guilty by reason of insanity, the court could have initiated proceedings to have him committed to a state mental hospital,” Mashable writes.
“Kyle and Littlefield had taken Routh to the shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort on Feb. 2, 2013, after Routh’s mother asked Kyle to help her troubled son. Family members say Routh suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from serving in Iraq and in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake.”
Among evidence provided to jurorsÂ by prosecutors was a recorded call between Routh and a reporter from “The New Yorker” magazine in which the killed confessed thatÂ he was annoyed Littlefield wasn’t shooting, but instead seemed to be watching him.
“Are you gonna shoot? Are you gonna shoot? It’s a shooting sport. You shoot,” Routh said. “That’s what got me all riled up.”
Defense attorneys said Routh, who had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication often used for schizophrenia, believed the men planned to kill him.
“I had to take care of business. I took care of business, and then I got in the truck and left,” Routh said in the phone call.
A resort employee foundÂ the bodies of the two menÂ about 5 p.m.; each had been shot several times. Soon after thatÂ Routh pulled up to his sister’s home in Kyle’s truck and told her he had killed two people.
She called police, who later located the gunmanÂ sittingÂ in the truck not far from home. A police video showsÂ officers trying to coax him from the truck while he made comments including: “I don’t know if I’m going insane” and “Is this about hell walking on earth right now?”
“He told us he’d taken a couple of souls and he had more souls to take,” Lancaster police Lt. Michael Smith testified.
Routh later took off and led authorities on a chase before the truck became disabled and he was arrested.
Littlefield’s mother, Judy, gave a brief statement to reporters outside the courthouse after the verdict was read. “We’ve waited two years for God to get justice for us on behalf of our son and as always God has proved to be faithful,” she said, holding back tears. “We’re so thrilled that we have the verdict that we have tonight.”