Chris Kyle, the son of a church deacon and Sunday school teacher was born in Odessa, Texas on April 8, 1974. Growing up a southern boy with the determination the size of his home state itself, he spent much of his time defending his loved ones against bullies in the halls of Midlothian High School. After his high school years he went to Tarleton State for two years where he found that his days would be better spent in the military, doing what he was ultimately born to do.
Shortly after finishing Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal training he met the love of his life, Taya Studebaker in a San Diego bar where they immediately hit it off. Taya found it hard to resist the 6’2, sarcastic man with claims such as driving an ice cream truck for a living. Chris and she tied the knot in 2002 before his first deploy in Iraq in 2003. For the next several years he would be miles away from his newly-formed family, protecting his country in combat. He served four tours of duty in Iraq, was deployed to Fallujah in 2004 and Ramadi in 2006, and Baghad and Sadr City in 2008. It wasn’t until strains in his marriage were occurring that Chris finally decided to give up his career as a sniper in 2009. For the next several years, the Kyle family spent time reuniting and creating memories that were long overdue.
Following years of family fishing trips, football games, and days at local theme parks, on February 2, 2013 Chris asked his close friend, Chad Littlefield, to accompany him in helping a distressed young man cut loose for a day. Eddie Ray Routh was a slender, 25 year old former marine who had found himself in distress after four years of being in battle himself. Unable to cope with the harsh realities he once faced, his family and loved ones often worried he was suicidal. An afternoon with a local veteran was what they all thought would be best for him.
The three men arrived at Rough Creek Lodge, a place that Kyle had grown to love. It was a tranquil place where he took those who wanted to learn how to shoot because it had a similar countryside to where he spent of his time – protecting his country in Iraq. These peaceful hills and cliffs would soon then be a crime scene where both Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield were brutally murdered. Eddie Ray Routh, who claimed in an attempt to save his own life, fatally shot both men multiple times. He then returned to Lancaster after admitting to his sister of what had happen, only to lead police offers on a high-speed chase until Kyle’s stolen vehicle, which he had taken, died.
Two years later, on February 11, 2015 opening statements were made by prosecutors. Although the defense focused on his belief that it was either his life or theirs, Routh admitted to being aware of his wrong-doings at the time, as well as drinking and smoking marijuana the morning of the shootings. On Day 2 of the trial, the crime scene was described and evidence was provided that both victims had never returned fire. Routh’s decision to flee from police gave additional reasoning to argue his sanity at the time. Both the Texas Ranger who searched the defendant’s home after the shooting and Routh’s uncle testified on Day 3. Routh’s uncle stated that his nephew, “knew right from wrong”. Call logs and voice mail messages were delivered on the fourth day of the trial, and finally the report from the officer who first transported Routh for questioning was released on Day 5.
After nine days, the trial came to an end and a verdict was reached. Six out of twelve jurors found Eddie Ray Routh guilty. Although he may have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Texas law allows a mentally ill defendant to be imprisoned so long as they were aware of their behavior at the time. There has since, however, been some implications to the prosecutors’ defense due to DNA testing. The Texas Jury, after just 3 hours of deliberations, found Routh guilty of murder, essentially deciding that Routh was aware of what he was doing when he shot and killed Chris Kyle.
“Chris Kyle is not gone. Chris Kyle is everywhere. He is the fabric of the freedom that blessed the people of this great nation. He is forever embodied in the strength and tenacity of the SEAL teams, where his courageous path will be followed and his memory is enshrined as SEALs continue to ruthlessly hunt down and destroy America’s enemies.” –Former Commander of Chris Kyle
The above article was written by Ashley Hill