Driving his pickup truck on 2 February, 2013, Chris Kyle – the Navy Seal popularised in the film American Sniper – texted his friend sitting in the passenger seat that the man in the truck with them was “nuts”.
That man, Eddie Ray Routh, is alleged to have killed Mr Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, shortly after that text was sent. A defence lawyer told this story to the jury during opening statements in the trial for Mr Routh, aiming to prove that his client was in a psychotic state and was not aware of the gravity of his actions.
The prosecution claims that Mr Routh acted “knowingly and intentionally” when he shot Mr Kyle and Mr Littlefield at a firing range about 70 miles south of Fort Worth, Texas, according to Reuters.
Mr Kyle had been attempting to help Mr Routh with his post-traumatic stress disorder when he took him to the firing range, as he had done with others suffering from PTSD. While driving to the firing range, Mr Kyle sent a text message to Mr Littlefield that said: “This dude is straight up nuts”.
Mr Routh served as a US Marine and did a tour of Iraq and Haiti, after which he reportedly showed disturbing symptoms of PTSD. He allegedly shot Mr Kyle in the back and the head, and shot Mr Littlefield in the chest.
He then stole Mr Kyle’s pickup truck and drove to his sister’s house, where he admitted to killing the men, prompting his sister to call the police.
The jury is made of 10 women and two men, and the trial is expected to last about two weeks. If Mr Routh is convicted, he could face up to life in prison.
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