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Widow of 'American Sniper' Praises Jury for Guilty Verdict

Image: Widow of 'American Sniper' Praises Jury for Guilty Verdict
Taya Kyle, widow of "American Sniper" Navy Seal Chris Kyle. (Larry French/ Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 01:50 PM

Taya Kyle, the widow of slain "American Sniper" Chris Kyle, spoke out Wednesday for the first time after a jury in Stephenville, Texas, found the murderer of her husband and his friend guilty late Tuesday night, issuing a Facebook message to praise the jury's actions.

The mother of two, posting on a public figure honor page she administers on the social media site, said she was using the "poetic morning" to praise the jury's actions in the conviction of former Marine Eddie Ray Routh, who was found guilty of killing Kyle and friend Chad Littlefield at a Texas shooting range two years ago.


"God Bless the Jury And good people of Stephenville, Texas!!" she wrote on the page, before going on to share a story about one of her husband's friends, Pete Scobell, who wrote a song, "The Hearts I Leave Behind," that she said reminds her of her husband and of "all the people who carry Chris in the hearts he left behind."

She then shared a tribute to her late husband:

"Chris, you are the love of my life," she wrote on Facebook. "You live on in my heart. You always will. I hope we all live lives that make you proud.

"And babe, Rest assured you don't need a fancy resting place — you live on... Safe In the hearts you left behind."

Kyle's wife was in attendance throughout the trial until Routh's defense began its closing arguments, when she became upset and left the proceedings, not returning when the verdict was read. Kyle's brother and parents, along with Littlefield's family were among a group hugging and crying inside the courtroom after the verdict was read, but the Kyles did not issue a statement.

On Sunday, Taya Kyle attended the Academy Awards ceremony to support the film "American Sniper," which was nominated for several awards, before returning to Texas for the trial.

Meanwhile, six of the jurors who found Routh guilty, leading to the trial judge's sentence of life in prison without parole, told ABC News Wednesday that they believe Routh knew the difference between right and wrong when he shot Kyle and Littlefield and ruled out the possibility that he was insane at the time of the shooting.

Story continues below video.


Juror Barrett Hutchinson told ABC that "without a doubt" jurors believed Routh knew right from wrong. "He knew the consequences of pulling the trigger the first time."

Routh first shot Littlefield, then Kyle, later leading police on a chase before his arrest. His attorneys, though, argued the former Marine had several mental disorders and was suffering from psychosis when he killed the two men.

But even with an insanity plea, in Texas, a defendant can be found guilty if it can be proven he knew what he did was wrong, reports ABC.

Another juror, Kristina Yager, said that she and others on the jury also wondered if Routh was faking his insanity.

"I know a lot of us came in this jury questioning that, but evidence showed there was a real definite pattern there, when it came to his earlier convictions," Yeager said. Routh had a history of problems with the law, a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse, and claims of post-traumatic stress disorder, she noted.

The jurors, though, said that they were not inspired or influenced in their verdict by either Kyle's book or the hit movie. Many avoided the book and film, but Hutchinson admitted he watched the movie, claiming it helped him better understand Kyle's service as an elite Navy SEAL.

“You just put that to the side, and take in the facts and make your own judgment," said Hutchinson. " I put [movie details] out of my mind, and looked at Chris as a person, looked at Chad as a person, looked at Eddie as a person."

The jury, of 10 women and two men, could choose from three decisions, of guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. The death penalty was not an option in the case.

And while there were several messages on Twitter commending the jury for its decision, at least one contained a dire warning for Routh.

Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the main subject of the film "Lone Survivor," said on Facebook that "justice was served for Chris and the Littlefield family."

But then on Twitter  and on his Facebook statement, he told Routh:


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Taya Kyle, the widow of slain "American Sniper" Chris Kyle, spoke out Wednesday for the first time after a jury in Stephenville, Texas, found the murderer of her husband and his friend guilty late Tuesday night, issuing a Facebook message to praise the jury's actions.
American Sniper, widow, jury, guilty, Chris Kyle
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2015-50-25
Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 01:50 PM
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