Lawyer: ‘American Sniper’ Kyle said suspect was ‘straight-up nuts’
(Click2Houston.com) STEPHENVILLE, Texas – Taya Kyle — the widow of former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle — arrived at the Erath County Courthouse Annex on Wednesday ready for day one of testimony in the trial of the man accused of murdering her late husband.
During opening statements, prosecutors asked the jury to consider whether 27-year-old Eddie Ray Routh killed Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield and if he knew it was wrong.
“Those are the two ultimate issues we’re going to ask you to decide,” Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash said to the jury.
But Routh has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His defense attorneys say Kyle and Littlefield knew he was unstable — even texting each other on the way to the range when Routh was in the truck with them.
“Chad Littlefield is sitting right next to him,” says Routh’s defense attorney Tim Moore. ”He (Kyle) texts him, ‘This dude is straight-up nuts.’”
Taya Kyle was the first witness to take the stand. She became emotional several times — most notably when describing family photos that were entered as evidence. Also when recalling the day her husband and Littlefield were killed. She said she felt something was wrong when she phoned her husband on the range — saying he was unusually quiet and sounded irritated. She also said the reason Kyle chose to take Routh to that particular range was because it was “beautiful and peaceful” and he thought it would provide the opportunity to bond with Routh who reportedly was suffering from PTSD. The case largely rests on Routh’s state of mind.
“He took their lives,” Routh’s attorney Moore said in opening statements. ”But when he took their lives, he was in the grip of a psychosis.”
Opening day testimony also revealed that Routh shot Kyle and Littlefield in the back. Kyle was shot five times in the back and side and once in the head. Nine witnesses took the stand, including the manager of the lodge and shooting range where the men were killed, and Littlefield’s mother, Judy. Judy Littlefield also noted that Wednesday would’ve been her son’s 38th birthday.
Testimony is scheduled to resume Thursday morning at 9:00.
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