Home / National News / "American Sniper" Trial: What Happened on the Fatal Day


(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — “American Sniper” Chris Kyle spent the final morning of his life with his wife and children at their kids’ sporting events, as Eddie Ray Routh, the former Marine on trial for killing Kyle and another man, was drinking whiskey and using “wet” marijuana, according to a witness and a lawyer for the prosecution at Routh’s murder trial.

The contrasting portraits of how the men began Kyle’s final day emerged as Routh’s trial got underway in a Stephenville, Texas, courtroom Wednesday.

Defense attorney Tim Moore said Routh was “in the grips of a psychosis” later that day, Feb. 2, 2013, when Kyle, 38, and his friend, Chad Littlefield, 35, were shot dead at a shooting range after they kept an appointment to pick up Routh, who they had previously never met.

Here is the rough timeline of that day as it was presented in court on Wednesday:

That Morning

Chris Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, told the court that the Kyle family spent that Saturday like many American parents: on the sidelines of their childrens’ sports games.

The Kyles’ daughter was 6 years old and their son was 8 years old at the time of Kyle’s death.

Kyle had first met Littlefield on a similar child sports sideline, according to testimony by Littlefield’s mother, Judy Littlefield — though Littlefield didn’t see Kyle on that day until he picked him up later with Routh.

While the Kyle family was spending time together, Routh was imbibing in drugs and alcohol, Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash said in his opening arguments.

Moore said that Routh had a restless night and began exhibiting bizarre behavior.

Routh spent the night with a woman, Moore said, and proposed marriage to her before telling her that he was “seeing things, he was hearing things…telling her not to talk out loud, to write things down on paper because people were listening.”

That Afternoon

Despite how the day was depicted in American Sniper, the hit movie based on her husband’s life, Taya Kyle said she never met Routh. Her husband went to pick up both Routh and Littlefield on their way to Rough Creek Lodge in Glen Rose, Texas.

Taya Kyle cried at points during her testimony, including when she described the last time she saw her husband.

“We just said we loved each other and gave each other a hug and kiss, like we always did,” she said.

Moore suggested Chris Kyle, who worked with troubled veterans, suspected something was wrong after picking up Routh, who he had first met with that day at the urging of Routh’s mother.

During the drive, according to Moore, Kyle texted Littlefield: “This dude is straight-up nuts,” to which Littlefield replied: “He’s right behind me, watch my six,” using military-speak for watching someone’s back.

Taya Kyle began to suspect that something was wrong when she called her husband as he arrived at the gun range. She told the court that he sounded irritated.

Early That Evening

Taya Kyle texted her husband a few hours later, writing: “Are you OK? I’m getting worried.” She never received a response.

The gun range was just one part of the facilities at Rough Creek Lodge, a place that Chris Kyle visited with veterans. As a result, many of the frequent visitors to the lodge knew Kyle and were friendly with him. One was Justin Nabours, a nuclear contractor who previously worked at Rough Creek Lodge and testified on Wednesday.

Nabours was not scheduled to go to the gun range that day and was slated to go on a pig hunt with a client, but because the client’s son wanted to meet Kyle, they headed over to the gun range to say hello.

Nabours found Kyle and Littlefield’s bodies on the ground, and he told his client to call 911.

Paramedic Matthew Green testified that he treated the two victims on the scene and both men were unresponsive.

Police officers were able to formally identify Kyle because he had his ID in his wallet, but it took more time with Littlefield because he did not have any identification on him.

Taya Kyle said that she worried because her husband had not responded to the text, and she learned what happened when a police officer came to her home to notify her.

She then called Judy Littlefield who was the second person to testify on Wednesday.

Taya Kyle told Littlefield that there had been an accident and and she needed to come over, Littlefield said.

District Attorney Nash said Routh shot Chris Kyle seven times and Littlefield six times, then took Kyle’s pistol, which had a special U.S. Navy seal engraved on the side, as well as his truck, and left the scene.

At an uncle’s house, “he shows his uncle his new truck, and he shows his uncle his new guns,” Nash said.

At some point after the shooting, Routh stopped at a Taco Bell and had a burrito before going to his sister’s house, Nash added.

After the sister asked Routh what happened and where he got the truck, Routh said he killed two men and stole their car, according to Nash.

Routh allegedly told his sister he was going to flee to Oklahoma, Nash said.

According to the prosecution’s timeline, Routh went to his house, got his dog and some other items, and drove off in Kyle’s truck. He returned a short while later to find police officers waiting at his home, Nash said, and he then fled and led police on a chase before being stopped when an officer slammed a police vehicle into his car.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Recent posts in National News