Last week, Eddie Ray Routh was sentenced to life in prison without parole after a jury found him guilty of killing former Navy SEAL marksman Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield in 2013.
The case received lots of publicity due to recent media attention surrounding American Sniper, the blockbuster movie adaptation of Kyle’s story. Jurors focused primarily on determining whether Routh’s insanity plea played a factor in the killings or if he would be held legally responsible and sent to prison instead of a mental healthcare facility.
After his honorable discharge from the Marines, Routh was diagnosed with PTSD and psychosis, though his loved ones reportedly didn’t notice any unusual behavior for years after his return. During the trial, he was examined by mental health experts, who found inconsistencies both between Routh’s behavior and typical symptoms of psychosis and in Routh’s testimony of his experiences and actual events.
In addition to the experts’ findings, the jury’s decision was largely influenced by a phone call recorded during Routh’s incarceration shortly after the incident. Reportedly, the recording captured him stating that he knew exactly what he was doing when he committed the crimes and that he knew it was wrong.
While the American Sniper film and court case have brought national attention to PTSD, it’s important more than ever for veterans to seek the help they need. If you or a veteran you know have struggled with PTSD or other service-connected trauma, don’t hesitate to contact the Veteran Crisis Line by calling 1-800-273-8255 [then press 1], texting 838255 or by clicking here to begin a confidential online chat with an experienced representative.