Friday, November 27, 2020

Medication found in home of suspect in ‘American Sniper’ trial

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Michael Whyte
Crime Scene Officer and Fingerprint Expert with over 7 years experience in Crime Scene Investigation and Latent Print Analysis. The opinions or assertions contained on this site are the private views of the author and are not to be construed as those of any professional organisation or policing body.
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Authorities found marijuana, a nearly empty bottle of whiskey, and antipsychotic medication while searching the home of the former Marine charged with killing ‘‘American Sniper’’ author Chris Kyle and his friend, a Texas Ranger testified Friday.

The testimony was the latest of the evidence presented to jurors this week that has shed light on Eddie Ray Routh’s mental state at the time of the killings two years ago at a rural Texas shooting range.

Texas Ranger David Armstrong said the search of the small wood-framed house in Lancaster turned up drug paraphernalia, alcohol, and medication prescribed to Routh that defense says was used to treat schizophrenia. On the refrigerator was a note with Kyle’s name and phone number.

James Watson, 45, Routh’s uncle, testified later that he smoked marijuana with his nephew at Routh’s suburban Dallas home. Watson said he went there after Routh’s girlfriend told him she was concerned about him after a fight they had.

Texas Ranger Michael Adcock holds a shell casing as he testifies in the trial of Eddie Ray Routh.

‘‘We talked at length about what was going on with him,’’ Watson said. Watson said he does not remember drinking whiskey with his nephew that morning, ‘‘but that doesn’t mean I didn’t.’’ He explained that it would not have been unusual for them.

Finally, Routh left to go shooting with Kyle, and Watson said he went home to nap. Routh came back later, awakened Watson, and showed him a 9mm handgun and a black pickup truck he was driving.

‘‘I’m driving a dead man’s truck,’’ Watson recalled Routh telling him. Routh did not explain what he meant by that, Watson said, but Routh had an eccentric way of expressing himself. Watson thought he was referring to himself.

Defense lawyers are mounting an insanity defense for Routh. Prosecutors have described the 27-year-old as a troubled drug user who used marijuana and whiskey the day of the killings, but say he knew right from wrong despite any history of mental illnesses.

If convicted, Routh faces life in prison without parole. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

James Jeffress, a Department of Public Safety forensic scientist specializing in ballistics, examines one of two semi-automatic pistols that matched bullet fragments taken from the bodies of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield

The case has drawn intense interest, largely because of the Oscar-nominated film based on Kyle’s memoir that details his four tours in Iraq. The film has grossed nearly $300 million.

On Thursday, prosecutors presented a video in which officers spoke with Routh as he sat in the pickup that authorities said he took from Kyle after fleeing the shooting range where Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed. Routh refused to leave the vehicle and eventually sped off with police in pursuit.

At one point during the chase, the video shows that a police vehicle rammed the pickup. Eventually the truck became disabled along the side of the road.

The video showed officers trying to talk Routh into surrendering as he makes comments such as, ‘‘Anarchy has been killing the world,’’ “I don’t know if I’m going insane,’’ and, ‘‘Is this about hell walking on earth right now?’’

Authorities say Routh had earlier driven to his sister’s house, admitted to the killings and told his sister, ‘‘People were sucking his soul.’’

Source: Boston Globe

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