Tags: eddie ray routh | murder | trial | american sniper | chris kyle

Eddie Ray Routh Murder Trial Opens With Emotional Testimony From Widow

Image: Eddie Ray Routh Murder Trial Opens With Emotional Testimony From Widow
Tara Kyle the widow of Chris Kyle cries on the stand during court inside the Erath County Donald R. Jones Justice Center during the murder trial for Eddie Ray Routh Stephenville, Texas, February 11, 2015. (Tom Fox/Pool/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015 01:56 PM

The murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the man who killed "American Sniper" Chris Kyle in 2013, began Wednesday with the testimony of Kyle's widow, Taya, who wept while describing the last day she saw her husband alive.

"We said we loved each other and kissed," she told the court as she wiped away tears, the Daily Mail reported.

Routh, 27, stands accused of capital murder after shooting Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, during a trip to a gun range outside of Dallas, Texas. Kyle had made similar trips with veterans suffering from PTSD, and the rural gun range was meant to be a "peaceful setting" where Routh "would relax," Taya Kyle said.

According to The Associated Press, prosecutors have charged Routh with capital murder, but are not seeking the death penalty.

During the first day of trial, Routh's defense raised a plea of insanity, saying he didn't know right from wrong on the day in question, Feb. 2, 2013.

Defense attorney Tim Moore showed jurors text messages Kyle had sent to Littlefield on the drive to the gun range.

"This dude is straight up nuts," Kyle texted, referring to Routh. "He's [sitting] right behind me, watch my six."

Moore told the court that Routh "thought he had to take their lives or he was in danger" in building the insanity defense.

On that fateful day, after shooting Kyle and Littlefield, Routh fled the scene in Kyle's truck, drove to his sister's house, and confessed what he'd done. Some legal experts have said that because he fled the scene, he knew that shooting Kyle and Littlefield was wrong. If he knew it was wrong, he is unlikely to mount a successful insanity defense.

The New York Times reported that it had been difficult to find jurors unfamiliar with the sniper's story, and that the timing of the trial is unique. Some even say it’s the first time the trial for a murder victim has coincided with the theatrical release of a major motion picture depicting them as a hero.

The trail was originally scheduled for May, however a judge pushed the date back to allow for more DNA testing of the evidence. Similarly, the film was at one time scheduled for a 2015 Christmas release.

The Clint Eastwood-directed "American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, opened in theaters nationwide on January 16, and has broken several box-office records for ticket sales in subsequent weeks.



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The murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the man who killed "American Sniper" Chris Kyle in 2013, began Wednesday with the testimony of Kyle's widow, Taya, who wept while describing the last day she saw her husband alive.
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