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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Back issues
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Sister of ‘American Sniper’ Killer|Told Him: ‘I Hate Your Demons’

STEPHENVILLE, Texas (CN) - Eddie Ray Routh's sister told a Texas jury Wednesday that the moment she realized her brother had murdered two men she felt like throwing up.

Routh, 27, is on trial in Erath County for the shooting deaths of former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, at an exclusive gun range outside Dallas. The former Marine has confessed to the killings but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

During the defense's first full day of testimony, those closest to Routh offered jurors a glimpse into the admitted killer's state of mind in the days and months leading up to the Feb. 2, 2013 killings.

Laura Blevins said her brother arrived at her house in Kyle's black Ford truck and told her he had just killed two people. She said she grew increasingly alarmed the more he spoke.

"He said he took their souls before they could take his," Blevins testified. "I asked him what he meant by that, and he said they were out to get him."

Blevins said she encouraged Routh to turn himself in to police, but he said he was headed to Oklahoma.

"I still couldn't believe that this is what was happening or what had happened. I told him, 'I love you but I hate your demons.'

"For a moment, he was my baby brother. He looked at me, and his eyes, I could tell he needed me," Blevins said. "Then he switched back so fast to the person I didn't know anymore."

Blevins called 911 after Routh left and authorities began their hunt for him.

District Attorney Alan Nash and Assistant Attorney General Jane Starnes described Routh as a cold-blooded killer who deliberately murdered Kyle and Littlefield, then stole Kyle's truck and evaded police. Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday after calling dozens of witnesses to the stand, including investigators and the victims' family.

The two friends had a passion for working with veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life and Kyle agreed to help the troubled Routh at the request of his mother.

Kyle gained famed for being the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, with 155 to 160 confirmed kills, his widow Taya Kyle said last week. He wrote a best-selling autobiography in 2012 and is depicted by Bradley Cooper in the Academy Award-nominated movie "American Sniper."

Kyle and Littlefield picked up Routh for what was supposed to be a therapeutic day at the shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge, an 11,000 acre ranch-style resort.

Prosecutors said Routh smoked "wet marijuana," marijuana soaked in embalming fluid, and drank whiskey the morning of the killings after a heated argument with his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Weed.

Weed testified Wednesday that Routh grew increasingly paranoid and suicidal in the months before the killings. She described their volatile relationship and her ex-boyfriend's quick temper, including an incident when he held her and her roommate in their Dallas apartment with a ninja sword two weeks before the slayings.

"He held it and said we weren't going anywhere," Weed said.

She said she didn't feel threatened by her then-boyfriend, who she met on an online dating site in 2012, even when he picked up a knife from the butcher block.

Weed said her roommate managed to text a police officer friend and fled the apartment by running out through the back door and jumping the fence. Weed, who has a psychology degree and worked for two years in the Dallas County District Attorney's Office as a victim advocate, persuaded officers to take Routh to an area mental health facility.

"They were actually very dull swords," Weed said. "I wasn't worried about him hurting me. I was more concerned with him hurting himself."

Routh was released from the psychiatric ward at the Veterans Administration hospital in Dallas despite his mother's pleas for doctors to keep him longer.

Eight days later, Kyle and Littlefield were found shot to death by a 23-year-old resort employee with multiple gunshot wounds to their bodies, including their face and back.

Weed was the last witness to be called Wednesday. She appeared to bolster Routh's insanity defense when she testified that Routh told her he was hearing voices and "seeing things" before the murders.

Judge Jason Cashon ended the day around 2:30 p.m., allowing jurors to leave early, but told them Thursday and Friday would be busy days in the capital murder case.

The defense is expected to wrap up as early as Friday.

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