Eddie Ray Routh, the man who murdered Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison:
The case went to the jury on Tuesday after a prosecutor said in his closing arguments that Routh, 27, acted coldly and deliberately in a deadly ambush of the pair at a Texas gun range in February 2013.
Only two and a half hours later, Routh was back in the courtroom, standing motionless as district judge Jason Cashon informed him that after their deliberations – including eating dinner and picking a foreperson – the jury of 10 women and two men had unanimously found him guilty of capital murder for killing the subject of the blockbuster film American Sniper and his friend on a rural shooting range a little over two years ago.
I can’t help by think that this case may have gone differently if one of the victims hadn’t been elevated to near godhood by a successful book and movie. Let’s review the events that lead up to the murder. Kyle and Littlefield took Routh to the shooting range supposedly to help him with his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the linked story Kyle referred to Routh as being “straight-up nuts”. So Kyle and Littlefield gave a weapon to a man they knew suffered from mental disorder in an environment that has enough elements to simulate a battlefield that it could trigger somebody suffering from combat-related PTSD. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they hold some responsibility for what happened to them.
This is an especially important thing to note as the gun rights community begins to bang on the mental health drum. It’s probably not a wise idea to hand a person you know to have a mental illness that could result in violent behavior a weapon. If you are going to do so then you probably should watch that person like a hawk at all times.
I honestly believe giving this man life in prison is overboard. My opinion may differ if he wasn’t put into the environment by individuals who knew he suffered from a mental illness that could result in violent behavior. But he was put into that environment and the people who put him there knew he suffered from PTSD.
But I don’t think any of this mattered the second Kyle was elevated to the status of hero and received his own day of recognition in the very state that the trail was taking place in.