Jurors Hear Killer’s Confession in ‘American Sniper’ Trial

Texas Ranger Danny Briley identifies Eddie Ray Routh's wallet Feb. 16, 2015, during the capital murder trial of former Marine Cpl. Routh at Erath County's Donald R. Jones Justice Center in Stephenville, Texas. (PHOTO CREDIT: Rodger Mallison, AP)
Texas Ranger Danny Briley identifies Eddie Ray Routh’s wallet Feb. 16, 2015, during the capital murder trial of former Marine Cpl. Routh at Erath County’s Donald R. Jones Justice Center in Stephenville, Texas. (PHOTO CREDIT: Rodger Mallison, AP)

The former Marine accused of killing the author of American Sniper and his friend traveled more than 100 miles in Chris Kyle’s truck before police stopped him and knew his actions were wrong, a Texas Ranger testified Monday.

After gunning down the famed Navy SEAL and Kyle’s friend, Chad Littlefield, Eddie Ray Routh stopped on Feb. 2, 2013, at his uncle’s house, his sister’s place, Taco Bell then his parents’ house where he had been living, according to Texas Ranger Danny Briley. When police stopped him to try to talk to him, he sped away, leading them on a high-speed chase.

“Clearly, he knew what he was doing was wrong,” said Briley in nearly five hours of testimony. “He stated it was wrong to kill them, that he was sorry.”

Routh, now 27, has confessed to the killings.

His defense team contends he was insane at the time of the homicides. Prosecutors are saying that he abused drugs and alcohol and knew right from wrong in spite of previously diagnosed schizophrenia for which he was taking medication.

Briley interrogated Routh the night of the murder. Initially, Routh was philosophical, acted bizarrely and did not want to talk about drug use that day, the officer said.

Then he confessed, saying he shot Littlefield first and telling Briley which firearms he used.

Littlefield, 35, was shot seven times; Kyle, 38, was shot six times. Neither victim had unholstered his gun.

“I knew if I didn’t take out his soul, he was going to take mine,” Routh said in a videotape played for the jurors. “You can’t let people keep eating your soul, you know? Warlords aren’t happy with me.”

Routh was a small-arms technician who served in Iraq and was deployed to earthquake-ravaged Haiti before leaving the Marines in 2010. Family members have said Routh was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Jim Douglas and Sebastian Robertson

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