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‘American Sniper’ jurors: Ex-Marine knew right from wrong

Eddie Ray Routh was Michael Ainsworth/Pool

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Jurors who rejected an insanity defense and convicted a former Marine in the deaths of famed ‘‘American Sniper’’ author Chris Kyle and his friend said Wednesday the man’s past behavior undermined his argument that he couldn’t tell right from wrong.

After a two-week trial in which jurors heard testimony about defendant Eddie Ray Routh’s erratic behavior, including statements about anarchy, the apocalypse, and pig-human hybrids, they convicted him Tuesday night in the deaths of Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a Texas shooting range two years ago.

Juror Christina Yeager told ABC’s ‘‘Good Morning America’’ that Routh displayed a similar pattern in prior run-ins with police — he would become intoxicated and then tell responding officers he was a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder. ‘‘Every time something bad happened he pulled that card,’’ Yeager said.


Barrett Hutchinson said jurors were not convinced by the claim that Routh was having a psychotic episode when he shot the men.

‘‘He knew the consequences of pulling the trigger,’’ Hutchinson said.

Routh showed no reaction as a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole, an automatic sentence since prosecutors didn’t seek the death penalty in the capital murder case.

The verdict capped an emotional trial in which prosecutors painted the 27-year-old as a troubled drug user who knew right from wrong, despite any mental illnesses. Defense attorneys said he had schizophrenia and was suffering from a psychotic episode at the time of the shootings. Routh’s defense team said they would appeal.

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 after the crime.

‘‘You took the lives of two heroes, men who tried to be a friend to you,’’ Chad Littlefield’s half brother Jerry Richardson told Routh after the verdict. ‘‘And you became an American disgrace.’’


Routh’s trial drew intense interest, in part because of the film based on the memoir of Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, about his four tours in Iraq.

Associated Press