(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — The defense called to the stand Thursday a psychiatrist who interviewed Eddie Ray Routh, the man accused of shooting and killing former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend, Chad Littlefield, at a Texas gun range in February 2013.
Dr. Mitchell Dunn, a board-certified psychiatrist at Terrell State Hospital in Texas, interviewed the defendant for six hours last spring — an abnormally long interview, he said.
One month before the shooting, Routh said he believed his co-workers at the cabinet company were cannibals and wanted to eat him, Dunn recalled from his interview.
“Mental illness is not the way it is portrayed in movies,” Dunn said.
Routh also said he believed his neighbor, a police detective, was a member of the Mexican Mafia, Dunn recalled.
Jodi Routh, the mother of the accused killer, was also back on the stand Thursday. When a prosecutor asked if she disclosed to Kyle that her son had been in the hospital just weeks before she arranged their meeting, she said, “it didn’t occur to me at the time.”
Kyle, who was helping war veterans after he retired as a Navy SEAL sniper, had agreed to help Eddie Ray Routh that day at the gun range in February 2013.
Earlier on Thursday, the defense called Charles Overstreet, who has a Ph.D. in clinical social work and assessed Routh in jail. Overstreet said he believes Routh suffers from symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that he thinks Routh misinterpreted Kyle and Littlefield’s behavior as “threatening.”
The prosecution objected to Overstreet’s testimony, leading to a sidebar. Then, the judge ruled that Overstreet could not testify for the jury.
Kyle, who was considered the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, served four tours in Iraq and helped found a veterans organization.
He also wrote a best-selling autobiography, which served as the basis for the film American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper. American Sniper is up for six Oscars at this weekend’s Academy Awards, and its popularity played a role in jury selection earlier this year.
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