(DALLAS) — The prosecution on Wednesday methodically walked through the fatal day when “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and his friend were killed, giving an idea of how it will fight the insanity plea expected from the accused shooter Eddie Ray Routh.
Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash described how Routh was “a little strange,” but that didn’t stop Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, from doing one of their favorite things, “spending time with veterans.”
Nash described how Routh allegedly shot Kyle five times in the back and side and once in the top of the head, and Littlefield four times in the back — once in the hand, once in the face and once in the top of the head.
He also detailed Routh’s alleged actions on the day of the shooting, Feb. 2, 2013, including a stop at a Taco Bell for a burrito.
Routh’s defense attorney followed, launching his opening statements by making the expected insanity plea clear.
“When he took their lives, he was in the grip of a psychosis, a psychosis so severe that he did not know what he was doing was wrong,” the defense attorney said, adding that Routh thought “that he had to take their lives because, in his psychosis, he thought they were going to take his.”
Routh is charged with the murders of Kyle and Littlefield. He faces life in prison if he is found guilty, as the prosecution has made it clear that it will not be seeking the death penalty.
Kyle’s story and his record as the deadliest sniper in American military history became problematic for the attorneys involved when it came to jury selection. Kyle’s autobiography is a best-seller and the Clint Eastwood-directed film based on the book has broken box office records.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors filed through hundreds of potential jurors, asking them about their knowledge of Kyle, personal connections to the military and beliefs about mental disorders.
In the end, they agreed on a jury made up of 10 women, two men and two alternates.
Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, and Littlefield’s mother, Judy Littlefield, are scheduled to testify Wednesday afternoon.
The decision to have the women testify so early in the trial came largely because the judge ruled that no witnesses can be in the courtroom until after they have testified so they will not be affected by other testimony.
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