State vs. Routh begins in Erath County



The families of Chris Kyle, Chad Littlefield and Eddie Routh sat shoulder to shoulder with law enforcement and media who packed into the 266th District Court Wednesday morning for opening statements in the State of Texas vs. Eddie Ray Routh. And it was a tense morning, with the defense attorneys asking for a mistrial during the first witness’s testimony.

Both sides agree that Kyle and Littlefield were killed by gunshot wounds at Rough Creek Lodge on February 2, 2013, by Routh. However, why those events occurred were the main point of contention in opening statements, as they have been throughout pretrial. While Routh’s team maintains their client was severely mentally unstable during the days leading up to and during the incident, Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash and Assistant AG Jane Starnes said they will present evidence proving Routh “knowingly and intentionally caused the death of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.”

Tom Moore with the defense's opening statements. || RUSSELL HUFFMAN photo
Tom Moore with the defense’s opening statements. || RUSSELL HUFFMAN photo

In opening statements, Tom Moore, an attorney for Routh, said he would prove his client suffered from “severe mental illness and psychosis during the time of the incident.” He sited several examples of dates when Routh was taken to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Dallas, GreenOaks Hospital in Dallas and when he was taken into custody by law enforcement officials, but not arrested, simply taken to GreenOaks.

Moore sited text messages from Kyle to Littlefield while the three drove to Rough Creek. “This dude is straight up nuts,” the text read. Littlefield texted back, “He’s right behind me. Watch my six.” He said the three went out to Rough Creek and began shooting when Routh’s “psychosis kicked in and he tragically took their lives.”

Moore also stated the defense would present evidence that on January 25, 2013, Routh was released from the VA against the wishes of his mother. Just more than a week later, on February 2, 2013, Routh, Kyle and Littlefield were at Rough Creek Lodge. Moore said the night before Feb. 2, Routh was with his girlfriend, whom he asked to marry him. Even though she said yes, Moore said that night was a fitful one and Routh didn’t sleep much, if at all.

Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash presented opening statements for the state. || RUSSELL HUFFMAN photo
Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash presented opening statements for the state. || RUSSELL HUFFMAN photo

Nash called his first witness, Taya Kyle, the wife of Chris Kyle.

Through tears, she identified photos of places, people and Kyle’s truck, and spoke of Chris’ life outside of the military, both before and after his time in Iraq. She spoke of her husband’s friend, Littlefield, whom she said was a ‘great friend’ to her husband, as Routh and his legal team listened on stone faced.

“It was just easy,” she said of their friendship. “Chris always said anything I ever do, it’s always better when I’m with Chad. They were always joking around, but they never really had to talk.”

Taya Kyle added that Kyle took several soldiers with trouble coming back from war to Rough Creek to shoot and spend time out in nature. She told the court Kyle always felt more at home in nature and told her guys always felt more comfortable talking afterwards, around a campfire or on the drive back to the metroplex.

District Judge Jason Cashon called for a lunch recess just after Taya began talking about Feb. 2 and when and how she learned Kyle was dead. The trial will resume at 1:05 p.m., and The Flash and KWBY will be posting updates later this afternoon.

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