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American Sniper Murder Trial Begins for Chris Kyle on Birthday of Second Victim Chad Littlefield

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Many Americans and most Texans have heard of Chris Kyle, American Sniper; but he was not the only hero to die on that fateful day in Glen Rose. Another hero, Chad Littlefield was also murdered in the shooting which took Kyle’s life. As the Star-Telegram explains, “The story of the life and death of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle is widely known. It’s been told in a best-selling book, a blockbuster movie and by countless local, national and international news organizations. But there was a second man, Chad Littlefield, who was gunned down with Kyle on Feb. 2, 2013, at an outdoor shooting range southwest of Glen Rose. He would have turned 38 Wednesday.” Instead, the trial for his murder began.

Murder Trial Begins on Victim’s Birthday

The mother of Chad Littlefield shared her pain for the Star-Telegram. ““It’s such an irony that we are starting the trial on his birthday, on what would have been a celebration. But we are a strong family of faith and that is the thing that is going to get us through.” She will be one of the first witnesses which are called by the state to testify in the trial for the murder of her son.

People Magazine shares, “After Routh’s attorneys entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, the two sides faced off in opening statements over whether Routh, 27, understood what he was doing was wrong when he allegedly shot Kyle and Chad Littlefield to death on Feb. 2, 2013 at a shooting range in Texas.

NBC states that the views painted of suspect Eddie Ray Routh contrasts very much. “The contrasting portrayals came during opening statements in the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, who killed Kyle and a friend at a Texas gun range in February 2013 and is accused of capital murder. The trial began less than two weeks before “American Sniper” contends for best picture at the Oscars.

Alan Nash, the district attorney, told jurors that Routh, 27, smoked marijuana and drank whiskey on the morning before he killed Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a gun range in February 2013. He rejected any defense on the basis of post-traumatic stress.”

Death Penalty Not Sought, Insanity Plea Entered

The prosecutors in this case have stated that they will not be seeking the death penalty for the man who has plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Defense Attorneys claim that Routh cannot get a fair trial due to the popularity of the movie, “American Sniper,” which tells the story of the life of hero Chris Kyle. In spite of these claims, an appeal to push back the trial was denied earlier in the month.

People goes on to share, “Defense attorney Tim Moore described Routh’s history of psychiatric problems, saying the ex-Marine suffered from severe mental illness and was treated and released several times by Veterans Affairs hospitals. Doctors had deemed him likely to cause harm to himself or others, Moore added, saying: “When he took their lives, he was in the grip of psychosis so severe he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.””

Prosecutor Finds Insanity Plea Questionable

“In a courtroom packed with onlookers and journalists, Kyle’s widow, Taya, who began testifying after the opening statements, sat with her eyes closed and hands folded as prosecutor Alan Nash argued that Routh’s conduct before, during and after the shootings showed he knew what he was doing was wrong. Routh “had been smoking dope and drinking” that morning, Nash said, telling the 10-woman, 2-man jury that proving a defendant is not responsible for his action in an insanity plea is a very narrow path,” according to People. NBC also shares, “”The evidence will show that mental illnesses, even the ones that this defense may or may not have, don’t deprive people from the ability to be good citizens to know right from wrong, to obey the law,” Nash said. “And at the very least not murder people.”

Brutal Killing of Both Men

Prosecutor Alan Nash shared the brutality of the murders of Chad Littlefield and Chris Kyle. Chad Littlefield was shot once in the face, once on top of his head, once in the hand, and four times in the back. Kyle was shot five times, once on the side of his head and four times in the back. Routh then allegedly stole Chris Kyle’s truck and fled the scene. Defense Attorney Tim Moore stated that the two victims could tell something was wrong with Routh beforehand. When they were driving to the gun range, Kyle texted Chad: “This dude is straight up nuts,” according to Moore. Littlefield texted back: “He’s right behind me. Watch my 6.” (That’s military jargon for “watch my back.”) (People).

The Death of Two Texas Heroes

Although a book and movie has drawn national attention for Texas hero Chris Kyle, many wish to make sure that Chad Littlefield is remembered as well. “No one ever mentions Chad Littlefield. He died that day, too,” said Connie Durant Stone, 59, of Granbury, who has been closely following news coverage of the case. “I’m interested in hearing about him. I just feel like his story needs to be told.” Chad’s mother says that she does wish to tell her son’s story, but will wait until the trial is over so as not to jeopardize the outcome. She adds, “Chad wasn’t in the military and he didn’t serve overseas, but he served in his own backyard,” she said. “He had a passion for veterans, as we do as a family. Two heroes died that day.”

Angela Kaye Mason

Sources:

People Magazine – http://www.people.com/article/american-sniper-murder-trial-opening-statements

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Kyle

Yahoo News – http://news.yahoo.com/american-sniper-murder-trial-opens-texas-court-154441456.html

Star-Telegram – http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/crime/article9688838.html

NBC – http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/contrasting-portrayals-killer-eddie-ray-routh-american-sniper-trial-n304421

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