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Thursday, July 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

‘American Sniper’|Killer Appeals

AUSTIN (CN) - Attorneys for the man who murdered "American Sniper" Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield filed notice Tuesday that they will appeal his capital murder conviction.

A state jury on Feb. 24 convicted Eddie Ray Routh, 27, of capital murder, rejecting his attorneys' insanity defense. They portrayed the former Marine as a schizophrenic who suffered from PTSD when he fired 13 shots at Kyle and Littlefield at an upscale gun range.

Prosecutors said Routh was a deliberate killer who waited for the "opportune time" to shoot the two friends in cold blood during a trip that was supposed to lift the troubled veteran's spirits. That time came when Kyle's magazine was emptied during target practice. Routh seized the moment to shoot both men in the back.

Erath County District Judge Jason Cashon immediately sentenced Routh to life in prison without possibility of parole. Jury deliberations lasted less than two and a half hours.

Routh's attorneys say their client couldn't get a fair trial in rural Erath County, where Kyle, a former Navy SEAL sniper, was well-known. They also claim that exposure to the blockbuster movie "American Sniper," based on Kyle's best-selling autobiography, prevented him from receiving a fair trial.

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