In a turn of events likely to acquire further attention from Michael Moore, Kid Rock, and other celebrities with social media access, the murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh begins today in Texas. Routh is accused of killing American Sniper subject Chris Kyle and a friend, Chad Littlefield, on a shooting range back in 2013. What’s more, Routh’s defense team is arguing that he was insane at the time of the fatal shooting.
[Routh] is charged with murdering Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield in 2013 at a shooting range about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Fort Worth. A jury of 10 women and two men will hear the case.
After opening arguments, Kyle’s widow Taya is expected to be one of the first witnesses to take the stand. Legal experts have said it is a tough task to obtain a verdict of innocence by reason of insanity in Texas.
If prosecutors win a conviction, they said they will seek a life sentence, while the defense will argue that he was innocent due to severe post traumatic stress disorder caused by Routh’s overseas tours of duty with the U.S. Marines. (Via Raw Story)
Most media outlets are angling their posts with Routh’s insanity plea, but in light of the trial’s proximity to the film’s unbridled success in theaters and Kyle’s heroic status in the state, the prosecutors’ professed desire to seek life imprisonment instead of the death penalty is startling. On the one hand:
Routh’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have the trial delayed, saying that having the movie in theaters nationwide and basking in the award season’s glare makes it difficult for Routh to get a fair hearing. (Via Raw Story)
Such a delay would make sense, given the variables cited. But Texas prosecutors not seeking the death penalty in such a high profile capital case? That’s almost unheard of, especially when one of its chief cultural comedic exports laughed about it back in 2003. Exhibit A:
Via Raw Story