STEPHENVILLE, TX –Lawyers for the state and for capital murder defendant Eddie Ray Routh agreed on a lot of things in their opening statements
They agreed that Routh shot and killed American Sniper Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield in 2013.
“He admits that he murdered these two men,” Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash said.
“An absolute tragedy happened down at Rough Creek Lodge,’ defense lawyer Tim Moore said.
They even agreed that Routh has mental problems related to his military service.
That’s where the agreement ends.
The D.A. said Routh can’t blame mental illness for the murders.
“The evidence will show that mental illnesses, even the ones that this defense may or may not have, don’t deprive people from the ability to be good citizens to know right from wrong, to obey the law,’ Nash said. ‘ And at the very least not murder people.”
“It was either him or them,” Moore said. ‘He had to take their lives because in his psychosis he was thinking they were going to take his.’
He also described a text message Kyle sent to Littlefield while they were all together.
“This dude is straight up nuts.”
For their first witnesses, prosecutors were counting on emotion, letting jurors hear from Chris Kyle’s widow and Chad Littlefield’s widow.
We’re sure to hear a lot more about mental illness in the days to come. The debate will determine whether Routh spends some time in a mental institution or the rest of his life in prison without parole.