Crime

"American Sniper" Killer Said Shortly After Shooting That He Knew Right From Wrong

Texas Ranger Danny Briley and a videotape gave a thorough account Wednesday of the confession given to Briley by Eddie Routh, the man on trial for the fatal 2013 shootings of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.

"I know you had a tough day, but I'd like to talk a little bit," Briley told Routh as he began questioning following a day that had seen Routh shoot Kyle and Littlefield, steal Kyle's truck and head to his uncle's house before stopping by Taco Bell on the way home.

Routh, sitting in a holding room with blood on his boots, told Briley "I knew if I didn't take out his soul he would take mine," referring to Kyle. The sniper and Littlefield couldn't stop him, Routh said, because "[T]heir training wasn't as good. My training's better."

The Ranger said he didn't test Routh for alcohol or drugs -- Routh's lawyers have blamed psychosis combined with the whiskey and weed ingested by Routh the morning of the shootings for the killings -- because being intoxicated is not a defense to capital murder.

Routh continued to raise the specter of his soul being eaten throughout Briley's questioning, but also repeatedly said he knew right from wrong. After he was finished with his confession, Routh told Briley that, if given the chance, he would tell Kyle and Littlefield's families he was sorry.

Routh has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing Kyle and Littlefield. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, so if he's found guilty he faces spending the rest of his life in jail. If he's found not guilty because of mental illness, he could find himself in a state mental hospital for the rest of his life.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young