American Sniper Chris Kyle trial: Jurors reveal why they decided gunman Eddie Ray Routh was legally sane

Jurors took barely two hours to convict the 27-year-old of murder

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The Independent US

Six of the jurors who convicted a mentally troubled former Marine guilty of the murder of American Sniper Chris Kyle and his friend have revealed why they believed the gunman knew the difference between right and wrong.

On Tuesday evening, a jury in Texas found Eddie Ray Routh guilty of the 2013 murder of Mr Kyle and Chad Littlefield. The 27-year-old was sentenced to life in jail without the chance of parole.

Routh’s lawyers had claimed he suffered from psychosis, paranoia and schizophrenia, and that he was not legally sane when he shot and killed the two men at a Texas firing range. The jury of ten women and two men took barely two hours to decide that he was.

Chris Kyle was killed in 2013

“Without a doubt. He knew the consequences of pulling the trigger the first time,” juror Barrett Hutchinson told ABC News.

Under Texas law, even if a person was suffering from a mental illness, they can be found guilty as long as they understood that what they did was wrong.

Christina Yeager said she and her fellow jurors wondered whether Routh was faking the depths of his psychosis at the time of the shooting.

“I know a lot of us came in this jury questioning that, but evidence showed there was a real definite pattern there, when it came to his earlier convictions,” Ms Yeager told the broadcaster, referring to Routh’s pattern of drug and alcohol abuse.

Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in American Sniper

Mr Hutchinson said that he had both read Mr Kyle’s autobiography and watched the Clint Eastwood-directed film based on the memoir.

“You just put that to the side, and take in the facts and make your own judgment. I put [the movie details] out of my mind, and looked at Chris as a person, looked at Chad as a person, looked at Eddie as a person,” said Mr Hutchinson.

The jury was tasked with choosing from three possible decisions: guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. State prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in the case.