On Location in Stephenville,Texas

The jury in the murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh went into deliberations at 6:30 p.m. While waiting for the verdict these are a few things I learned around the courthouse:

An assistant Pastor told me that Routh had been baptized in jail by the senior Minister of the local Church of Christ, John Parker, who has been visiting him regularly.

It also came out during the testimony that a bible had been found by Routh’s bed after the shootings.

The third witness today was Howard Ryan, a blood stain expert, who testified that Kyle was shot first at close range. Littlefield was shot next, falling to his knees before being shot a second time in the head.

The defense’s argument is that Routh is insane and has been traumatized by his combat experience. During the closing arguments for the defense Taya Kyle got up and ran from the room, followed by other family members.

In their closing statements,the prosecution contended that Routh is faking mental illness and is playing a game he has played his whole life.

It’s a toss-up as to when the jury will have a decision.

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Report from the American Sniper Trial

This is my report from last week and now I am on the road back to Stephenville, TX to catch the rest of the trial. Stay tuned for more and don’t forget that time is short for  the rest of the kickstarter campaign!

Welcome back.  On location in Stephenville, Texas which is just an hour and a half southwest of Fort Worth. When I arrived last Monday, I found that all the major networks had sent news trucks to cover the trial. Over the following days I met many nice local people and other reporters including AP correspondent Jamie Stengle, Dianna Hunt from the Dallas News and Autumn Owens from the Stephenville Empire Tribune whom I want to thank for their assistance.

As I am sure you all know by now, the trial of the accused killer of Chris Kyle, Eddie Ray Routh, is in full swing and moving fast. For the first four days, from my seat in the second row, Routh was just about twelve feet to the left and Chris Kyle’s widow Taya was directly behind me. During my brief conversations with her I found Taya quite pleasant and easy to talk to despite her ordeal.

Chad Littlefield’s was killed with Kyle and his mother was sitting behind Taya along with around thirty other friends and family members. Security is extremely tight and only thirty-five people are allowed in the courtroom each day besides the family. After talking with the D.A. it appears that all the evidence will have been presented by both sides by the end of this week and then the case will go to jury deliberations.

Taya was the first to testify, followed by Chad’s mom, who said it would have been her son’s birthday. During the testimony of seven other witnesses, the prosecution showed a series of ghastly photos of the crime scene as well as autopsy photos of both men. Many people in the courtroom cried during this presentation. As for Eddie Ray Routh, he showed no emotion, scribbling on a notepad throughout most of the proceedings.

On the second day of the trial, four witnesses were called including a crime scene specialist from the Texas Rangers and a Lancaster police officer along with Lt. Michael Smith who was the first officer to talk to Routh after the shootings and finally the Medical Examiner from Dallas County who showed more photos. The Medical Examiner described the shootings in great detail saying that both victims has been shot numerous times and also stating that neither man had drugs or alcohol in his system.

On day three Routh’s uncle was the first witness and testified that he and Routh had smoked marijuana together on the morning of the shooting and may have drunk whiskey as well. Then James Jeffries, a ballistics expert, gave his findings followed by police officer Jena Cole who quoted Routh as saying “I feel bad about it but they wouldn’t talk to me. I’m sure they’ve forgiven me.”

I am running short on space but here are a few other highlights from the testimony:

Taya Kyle testified that her husband didn’t sound like himself when she spoke with him on the phone before the murders; he sounded irritated and short.

Receipts found in Kyle’s stolen truck showed that a short time after the killings Routh stopped at Taco bell and bought two burritos.

Routh led police on a high speed chase that only ended when after a few miles they rammed his truck and disabled it.

After he was arrested Routh asked one of the detectives “Is the apocalypse on us right now? I can feel everybody feeding on my soul.”

A question that has been frequently asked but we will never know the answer to, is how Eddie Ray Routh got the jump on Kyle and Littlefield when they were both found to be carrying loaded handguns.

In text messages exchanged between Kyle and Littlefield while they were driving with Routh who was in the back seat of the truck, Kyle said that “this dude (Routh) is straight up nuts.” Kyle and Littlefield had never met Routh before and these are Kyle’s last known words.

On a similar note, on September 26, 1970 E.C. Mullendore’s last known words were “Chub stays in the truck like I told him to. He’ll do what I say.” You can learn more on my website www.originalbuffalodale.com.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…………

 

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Footprints in the Dew-Now is the time!

I know that many of you out there have been visiting the kickstarter page and learning about the project. Thank you to everyone for your interest and especially thank you to those of you who have made a pledge. To those of you still on the sidelines if you think the book is interesting and you’d like to read it, now is the time to commit. There are only 8 days left in the campaign and a long way to go to raise the funds that are needed to get the book in everyone’s hands. Help me make Footprints in the Dew a reality!

Back in the Rialta

I’m re-fueling the motorhome in anticipation of another road trip to spread the word about the project. I hope to catch a big crowd at the OSU vs.,Iowa game tomorrow night and then on to OKC to see the Thunder Thursday night. I might possibly drive on to Stephenville for more of the American Sniper trial.

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Stephenville, Texas

Hello to all my new friends in Stephenville, Texas. The motor home is snowed in right now but maybe I’ll see you toward the end of the week. Thanks again to everyone from CBS, the Dallas Morning News and the Stephenville Empire Tribune for taking time out to visit with me. To the residents of Stephenville, you have a truly great all American town. And lastly thanks to the dozens of law enforcement personnel from every branch who are doing a wonderful job with the security at the trial. I wish everyone there well.

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On the road… Tulsa Boat & Travel Show, The Woody Guthrie Museum and The Marland Home in Ponca City, OK

 

This is from last week’s weekly before I began posting about the trial….

Welcome back. I am currently in Stephensville, Texas where 27 year old ex-Marine Eddie Ray Routh is being tried for the murders of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield.  However, I’ll start this week with a couple of more pleasant stories.

If the Tulsa Boat & Travel show is any indicator of the health of the American economy then things are in good shape. I attended the show on several different days and from what I heard from the vendors sales of boats, campers, hot tubs and vacation packages were all up from last year. On Friday night and Saturday big crowds packed the parking lots and filled area restaurants as good weather and the expectation of summer gave promoters plenty of opportunity to show off their wares.

Another exciting find in Tulsa was the Woody Guthrie Museum where a traveling exhibition of Beatles memorabilia has just opened. John, Paul, George and Ringo come alive through recordings and never before seen photos of the band when they “invaded” America. The exhibit tells the story of their lives and the rise of their popularity. It’s only on display through the end of June so if you’re a Beatles fan be sure you don’t miss it.

The permanent exhibition features Woody Guthrie’s art and music along with photos documenting his life and it’s a must see as well. The Grady district in Tulsa had been in decline but today there are several museums and great restaurants in the area and it’s definitely a place I recommend visiting.

Traveling down the road on Friday night to speak about my new book in Ponca City, I found another place that is well worth a visit.  E.W. Marland had already made and lost a fortune when he came to Oklahoma. Marland was a lawyer from Pennsylvania and he and his wife Virginia moved to the state in 1908 looking for oil. In 1911 they hit it big and their story is told in detail at the Marland Mansion in Ponca City. The house was completed in 1916 and had many innovative features including a central vacuuming system, an automatic dish dishwasher, central air conditioning and Oklahoma’s first indoor swimming pool. Most people had never heard of such luxuries and with a construction cost of $350,000 all these were out of their range anyway. The 16,500 s.f. Italian renaissance revival style house has a red clay tile roof and many ornate interior details such as wood paneling, a Waterford crystal chandelier and a marble fireplace.

The house has been completely restored and today E.W. Marland’s personal items are on display there along with many period objects. But that’s not all, in the basement are several rooms of memorabilia from the 101 Ranch as well  dedicated to the history of the ranch, the 101 Wild West show and the lives of the Miller brothers who founded the ranch. This exhibit along is worth the trip.

The history of Ponca history also includes the influence of Phillips 66 and Continental Oil as well as that of the Kaw, Osage, Tonkawa, Pawnee and Ponca Indian tribes who all lived in the area. Yes, I could go on and on about this town but you’ve got to see it for yourself. If you’re looking for a day trip, this is your spot.

Next week, it’s Stephensville, Texas and the inspiration for what most are saying will be an Oscar winning movie, American Sniper. Till then I’ll see ya down the road…. But remember you can find daily updates on my travels on my website www.originalbuffalodale.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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American Sniper Trial- The End of The First Week

Stephenville, Texas:

In anticipation of a lengthy day of testimony  Monday, court recessed early on Friday. The first witness is expected to be Officer Brown who videoed Routh’s statement. He may be followed by Jen Weed who had become engaged to Routh the night before the murder. Additional photos and video remain to be shown and then it is possible that the case will go to the jury by Friday.

As for my project, Footprints in the Dew, there is only a short time left if you want to get involved and learn what happened to E.C. Mullendore on the night of September 26, 1970. Please don’t wait!

American Sniper Trial- Day Two

For the past two days Chris Kyle’s widow has been sitting directly behind me and I have had the opportunity to speak with her briefly.

It is hard to sit through the testimony I am about to describe without thinking about how it is impacting her and the rest of the families of both Kyle and Chad Littlefield.

The first person to testify was crime scene specialist and Texas Ranger Michael Adcock who described the crime scene in detail. The next witness was the Lancaster police  officer who initially secured the crime scene and who confirmed details about what he observed.

Their testimony was followed by a thirty minute dash cam video of the police chasing Eddie Ray Routh, eventually ramming his truck and Routh continuing to flee until his damaged truck gave out. In the course of the day several other videos of this chase were shown.

The most disturbing testimony thus far came from Dr. Jeffrey Banard who is the Chief Medical Examiner in Dallas. He described the height and weight of both victims, the number of gunshot wounds they received and testified that there was no way either man could have survived,even with immediate medical care. Banard also testified that neither victim had alcohol or drugs in his system. Banard’s testimony was accompanied by many photos of the bodies.

For the past two days Routh has been writing continually in a notebook and today he only looked up when photos of the bodies were shown on the wide screen monitor.

 

American Sniper Murder Trial: Day One

On location here in Stephenville, Texas it is the end of the first day in the trial of the accused murderer of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. The prosecution opened with nine witnesses including Kyle’s wife. These are a few of the things that caught my attention during their testimony:

Accused shooter Eddie Routh started drinking whiskey and smoking marijuana early on the day of the murder.

Both Kyle and Littlefield were shot numerous times in the back and in the head with several different guns.

After the shooting Routh planned to go to Oklahoma.

The night before the murder Routh had proposed to his girlfriend Jeanine Weed and she had accepted.

Sixty-seven photos of the murder scene were shown including photos of Kyle and Littlefield. Many jurors and spectators cried.

From where I was sitting, just ten feet from Routh, I could detect no emotion on his part.

A text message from Chris Kyle sent shortly before his death said that Kyle was crazy.

Stay tuned for day two.