The ex-Marine accused of killing "American Sniper" Chris Kyle and another man at a shooting range was not legally insane because he chose the time and place to gun down both men, and he avoided killing the pair while they were driving because he feared an accident, experts for the prosecution testified Friday.
Forensic psychologist Dr. Randall Price testified that murder suspect Eddie Ray Routh was instead experiencing paranoia, irritability and depression due to residual effects of smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol when he killed Kyle and Chad Littlefield on Feb. 2, 2013.
"He did choose the time to kill them," Price said.
Price said Routh indicated he was agitated that Kyle brought Littlefield along for their outing, and "he thought they weren't treating him right." The guns in the back seat of the truck made Routh "fearful for his life" and "he considered to kill them while on way to gun range, but if he did they may have an accident that would kill him."
"Individuals with schizophrenia don't have that much insight to what is going on," Price said.
A second witness for the prosecution, psychiatrist Dr. Michael Arambula agreed, saying, Routh "didn't have issues with Chris (Kyle) — only Chad (Littlefield) — but because Chris would shoot him for shooting Chad, he had to shoot Chris. And that makes sense, and is not psychotic thinking."
Routh’s attorneys will argue that he is not guilty by reason of insanity. A defense witness, Dr. Mitchell H. Dunn, testified Thursday that Routh's medical records and interviews indicated he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the crime. The defense rested their case Thursday.
Prosecution rebuttal is expected to continue Monday. Prosecutors have said they will seek life in prison without parole if he is convicted of capital murder, rather than the death penalty.
Kyle was reputed to be the deadliest sniper in U.S. history. His autobiography, “American Sniper,” is the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated movie released this year.
— Jacob Rascon and Elisha Fieldstadt