The family of Chad Littlefield, the man who was shot to death along with “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, said Wednesday that the killer tried to use an insanity defense as a “Get Out of Jail Free card.”
They spoke to NBC News on the morning after Eddie Ray Routh was convicted of murder in the two killings.
“Two heroes died that day,” said Jerry Richardson, Chad Littlefield’s brother. “And Chad and Chris could have been the best friend that he would have ever had. Instead, he wound up being an American disgrace.”
Routh, 27, served in Iraq with the Marines. His lawyers said that he was in the grip of psychosis when he killed Kyle and Littlefield, who had taken him on what was meant to be a therapeutic trip to a gun range in February 2013. The verdict carries an automatic life sentence.
Richardson, who taught Routh in high school, said that Routh used his military service and claims of post-traumatic stress as a “Get Out of Jail Free card” for all kinds of trouble. Richardson said Routh once said in high school that he would claim insanity if he ever killed anyone.
Both sides in the trial played down post-traumatic stress disorder, but the defense presented witnesses who said Routh believed that pig-human hybrids were trying to take over the world and that Kyle and Littlefield were plotting to kill him.
The prosecution presented experts who said that Routh was not insane, and prosecutors argued that he knew right from wrong when he pulled the trigger.
Littlefield’s mother, Judy, remembered her son as a good listener who was devoted to his young daughter and who, despite never having served in the military, believed passionately in helping veterans.
The last time she saw him, she said, he hugged his parents goodbye, walked down the driveway to his truck, and then turned back to go hug them again. He told his mother: “It’s scary, Mom, life is so good right now.” He was killed the next day.
“Little did I know I would treasure those moments the rest of our lives,” she said.
— Jacob Rascon and Erin McClam