The latest chapter in the tragic death of Chris Kyle has finally come to a close. On Tuesday evening, Feb. 24, Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty of murder for the shooting death of American Sniper inspiration Kyle.
Routh, 27, sat through a two-week trial in Stephenville, Texas this month, facing murder charges for the death of Kyle, as well as his friend Chad Littlefield. Kyle and Littlefield were both shot and killed by Routh on Feb. 2, 2013.
The two veterans had brought Routh with them to a shooting range in an attempt to help the fellow vet, who was coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. While Routh's defense team did not deny that he was the one who shot the two men, they did present an insanity case, claiming that Routh could not be found guilty as he was not of right mind.
As announced on Tuesday, the jury rejected Routh and his attorneys' insanity claims and found the suspect guilty of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole, as the prosecution chose not to ask for the death penalty.
Kyle, who was 38 at the time of his death, was famous for his military sharp-shooting skills. The former Navy SEAL counts the highest number of kills for any U.S. military sniper, and wrote a best-selling book about his experience after being honorably discharged.
His 2012 memoir American Sniper inspired Clint Eastwood's Oscar-nominated box office hit by the same name. Kyle is played in the film by Best Actor nominee Bradley Cooper, while his wife Taya Kyle, who testified at Routh's trial and attended this past weekend's Oscars on her husband's behalf, is played by Sienna Miller.
According to multiple outlets, Taya was not present for the reading of the verdict, as she left the courtroom during the defense team's closing arguments. Littlefield's family members reportedly remained in the room to give statements to Routh.
"You took the lives of two heroes, men that tried to be a friend to you, and you became an American disgrace," Littlefield's brother Jerry Richardson said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Your claims of PTSD have been an insult to every veteran who served with honor, disgracing a proud military with your cowardice."
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