The ex-Marine who shot Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL better known as the American Sniper, was convicted of murder by a Texas jury and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Eddie Ray Routh, 27, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2013 gun-range shooting that killed Kyle and Chad Littlefield. Routh’s attorneys claimed that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, and said they intended to appeal the decision after the jury needed only two hours to come to its conclusion.
Kyle’s widow, Taya, was not in the courtroom during the reading of the verdict. She had been present for the beginning of the closing arguments, but exited when she was overcome with emotion.
Kyle, who wrote the 2012 best-seller American Sniper that became the basis for Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster, is recognized as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. After he returned home, he volunteered to counsel other veterans who were struggling with PTSD and the transition back to civilian life. He and his friend, Littlefield, took Routh, who had been hospitalized in mental insitutions, to the shooting range near Ft. Worth on Feb. 2, 2013, when Routh turned his gun on them.