‘American Sniper’ Trial: Gunman Found Guilty in Murder of Chris Kyle

Jurors returned the verdict late Tuesday in the trial of Eddie Ray Routh

Last Updated: February 24, 2015 @ 8:46 PM

A Texas jury found Eddie Ray Routh guilty in the murder of “American Sniper” subject Chris Kyle on Tuesday night.

Routh, 27, a former Marine, was on trial for killing Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range in 2013. Routh admitted to the killings, but pleaded not guilty.

The fact that he had shot and killed the men was not in dispute, but his defense attorneys had argued that Routh was insane at the time of the shootings. Jurors deliberating the case had three choices — guilty, not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity. They rejected the insanity defense and took less than three hours to find Routh guilty of the capital murders.

Moments after the verdict, Judge Jason Cashon in Stephenville, Texas, sentenced Routh to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

During the trial, a defense witness testified that Routh suffered from schizophrenia and was in a psychotic state at the time of the killings, however prosecutors said Tuesday that the episodes were self-induced through alcohol and marijuana abuse, according to an AP report.

“This defendant has gone to the deep well of excuses for his violent behaviors one too many times,” Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash said. “I am tired of the proposition that if you have mental illness that you can’t be held responsible for what you do.”

The double homicide was featured in the final minutes of Clint Eastwood‘s Oscar-winning film, as Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, said goodbye to his wife (Sienna Miller) for the last time to go to the gun range with Routh and Littlefield. Having been deployed to Iraq and earthquake-ravaged Haiti, Routh’s mother had asked Kyle to help her son with his PTSD.

On Sunday night, Kyle’s real-life widow, Taya Kyle, attended the 87th Academy Awards carrying her late husband’s military dog tags, and was in the audience when the film received an Oscar for sound editing.

“I wanted to support everyone who made this movie representing real veteran families, but I didn’t think I had the energy to show up at the Oscars, let alone be presentable,” she said before the show, according to Fox News. “So, I find myself in a surreal position… like Cinderella who scrubs the floors but has a fairy Godmother (Warner Bros.) who got me on a plane and had a dress and jewelry and even the shoes and spanx waiting for me.”

Eastwood’s blockbuster drama tells the true story of the Navy SEAL sniper’s pinpoint accuracy that is said to have saved countless lives on the battlefield. Back home with his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris found that it was the war he couldn’t leave behind. After battling his own demons, he turned to life-coaching veterans with disabilities, which led to his introduction to his killer.

Kyle was the deadliest sniper in U.S. history with 160 documented kills. Meanwhile, “American Sniper” is now the highest-grossing war movie in history.

He was killed alongside Littlefield on Feb, 2, 2013 at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort in Erath County, Texas. Kyle, 38, and Littlefield, 37, were found motionless by a hunting guide who called 911. But the two were dead when police arrived.

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