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

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