An ex-girlfriend of Eddie Ray Routh testified at the “American Sniper” murder trial on Wednesday that he called her a demon, accused her of “trying to steal his soul” and threatened her with a ninja sword.
The outburst came two weeks before Routh shot and killed Chris Kyle, the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated movie, and a friend in February 2013, the ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Weed, told jurors.
On the night before the crime, she said, Routh told her he was seeing and hearing things — then, as she went to the kitchen to get his medication, he knelt and asked her to marry him. She said yes, he hugged her and cried, and they went to bed, she said.
Weed was a defense witness on the sixth day of the trial in Stephenville, Texas. The prosecution says that Routh, a former Marine, knew right from wrong when he shot and killed the two men. The defense says that he was in the grip of psychosis.
Earlier on Wednesday, Routh’s brother-in-law, Gaines Blevins, said that Routh stopped by after the crime and said that he had “taken two souls before they took his.”
“I had a sick feeling of what it meant,” he said.
“He stated that he had taken some souls,” Blevins told the jury. “And when my wife asked him what he meant, he said he had taken two souls before they took his.”
His wife, Laura, Routh’s older sister, said that Routh did not seem like himself that day. She recalled standing on her porch, looking him in the eyes and saying, “I love you, but I hate your demons.”
Another defense witness, Donna Taylor, a family friend who owns a cabinet business where Routh worked, testified that Routh seemed distant and disturbed in the months before the shootings.
“He was just bothered,” Taylor said. “Something was bothering him. We tried to get him to tell us what is wrong.”
— Jacob Rascon and Erin McClam