(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — The ninth and possibly last day of the American Sniper trial continued Tuesday with more rebuttal evidence presented by the prosecution, including additional tapes from a jailhouse interview that Routh had with a reporter from The New Yorker.
Excerpts from the interview were already played during the prosecution’s initial portion of the case, but the recordings played Tuesday included a different call where defendant Eddie Ray Routh is heard saying “I don’t know why I did it. But I did it.”
“It tore my f****** heart out when I did it,” Routh is heard saying, suggesting that Routh was aware of what he had done when he shot famed Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield.
Routh’s defense team has argued that Routh was insane at the time, and hence not responsible for his actions.
The testimony on Tuesday began with a crime scene analyst who said that evidence suggested Kyle had no idea that he was about to be shot.
Howard Ryan recreated the 2013 crime scene and determined that Kyle was “definitely not facing the shooter” and “absolutely never saw this coming.”
Kyle and Littlefield were shot dead by Routh, a former Marine, at a Texas gun range in February 2013 and Routh has plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
Ryan said that his analysis of the blood patterns and the crime scene indicates that Littlefield was killed first by being shot in the head while he was on his knees, and Kyle was killed second. Both men were killed quickly and at close range, he said.
The defense also re-called Dr. Mitchell Dunn, the psychiatrist who concluded that Routh was insane in earlier testimony. Dunn said today that the forensic psychologist hired by the prosecution, who concluded that Routh was not insane, used flawed methods.
Dunn was one of the final rebuttal witnesses that took the stand before Assistant Attorney General Jane Starnes began with the state’s closing arguments. The judge ruled that the jury will hear both closing arguments this evening and be left to consider three possible verdicts: innocent, guilty, or guilty by reason of insanity.
Starnes went through the various points that the prosecution believes indicates that Routh knew what he was doing was wrong — which is the defining legal characteristic of sanity — listing how he fled from police, knew that he would be jailed, and showed remorse shortly after the killings.
She also said that it was a “load of hogwash” that Routh allegedly believed Kyle and Littlefield were hybrid “pig assassins.”
The defense team took turns addressing the jury, with attorney Tim Moore urging jurors to decide with their conscience and not to be swayed by what they believe the public would think about their decision.
Attorney Shay Isham then argued that Routh was not fleeing the crime scene in a typical manner, as seen by Routh’s documented stop at a Taco Bell hours after the shooting.
A third defense attorney, Warren St. John, spoke to Routh’s mental state, and the duty of the jurors.
“You’ll never have as much power today as you will for the rest of your life,” St. John said.
“He killed those men because he had a disillusion, he believed in his mind they were going to kill him,” St. John said.
Routh’s defense team has argued that the former Marine was in the grips of psychosis and did not know that what he was doing was wrong when he killed the two men. Prosecutors contend that he was sane and should be found guilty of the two murders. If found guilty, 25-year-old Routh faces life in prison.
Kyle’s confirmed kills in Iraq earned him the distinction of being the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. His autobiography was the basis for the movie American Sniper.
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