Eddie Ray Routh, the former Marine that murdered Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range in Texas, was convicted yesterday after a jury refused to buy the defense claim that Routh was not guilty by reason of insanity. Routh’s defense team will appeal the verdict, but if it is upheld, Routh will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Routh showed no visible emotion as the verdict was read, while Kyle’s brother and parents were among a group of the victims’ families and friends who cried and held hands. They did not issue a statement.
Jerry Richardson, Littlefield’s half-brother, told Routh that he “took the lives of two heroes, men who tried to be a friend to you, and you became an American disgrace.” Routh had no reaction.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted “JUSTICE!” in response to the verdict.
Routh, 27, had admitted to killing Kyle and Littlefield at a gun range on Feb. 2, 2013 but pleaded not guilty. His attorneys and family members asserted that he suffers from psychotic episodes caused by post-traumatic stress disorder and other factors.
But prosecutors said Tuesday that whatever episodes Routh suffers are self-induced through alcohol and marijuana abuse.
Routh joins a long list of famous violent criminals who were high on marijuana when they committed their crimes that includes Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
Routh’s claim that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS) is infuriating for those with actual combat stress, because Routh simply could not have acquired it in either Iraq or in Haitian disaster relief as his defense claimed.
Routh was not a combat Marine, but was a small arms armorer. In his deployment to Iraq he never left a sprawling American base that was so large that it boasted its own American fast food franchises. When Marine units deployed to help with earthquake relief in Haiti, Routh never left the ship on which he was stationed.
The jury convicted Routh with less than two hours of deliberation. The former Marine was emotionless as the verdict was read and the jury was polled.
Routh murdered Kyle and Littlefield as the two men attempted to help Routh with psychological issues as they had many other veterans in the past. Taking veterans to a shooting range is often very therapeutic, and doing taking fellow veterans to the range also helped Kyle deal with the stresses he encountered in multiple combat tours in Iraq where he experienced heavy combat.
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Kyle retired after dispatching an estimated 300 enemy combatants (160 of them confirmed) who were targeting American soldiers in some of the bloodiest urban battlefields in the Iraq War. Kyle’s typical mission was to provide overwatch from a hidden elevated position, protection coalition forces maneuvering nearby. It is probably not an exaggeration to assert that Kyle probably prevented hundreds of coalition casualties by engaging enemy combatants before they could attack American and Iraqi forces.
Kyle was likely only second among American snipers to legendary Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock in terms of total probable kills. Hathcock is thought to have killed 300-400 Vietcong and NVA soldiers, but Vietnam-era snipers had to have their kills confirmed not just by their spotter as is the practice today, but a third party who had to be a officer.
Kyle was also thought to be the second most deadly modern sniper, only behind an unnamed British Marine with 173 confirmed kills in Iraq and Afghanistan, including 90 Taliban in a single day.