By JESSIE HORTON
STEPHENVILLE (February 13, 2015) — Texas Ranger David Armstrong told the jury his investigative team found whiskey, marijuana and anti-psychotic medicine in the home of Eddie Ray Routh, 27, while executing a search warrant on the morning of Sunday, February 3, 2013. And former Erath County Sheriff’s Deputy Gene Cole testified Routh once said he’d killed former Navy SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield because they ‘wouldn’t talk to him.’
“He (Routh) said, ‘I was just riding in the backseat of the truck and nobody would talk to me. They were just taking me to the range so I shot them. I feel bad about it but they wouldn’t talk to me. I’m sure they have forgiven me,’” Cole told the court Friday afternoon, the third day of Texas vs. Eddie Ray Routh at Donald R. Jones Justice Center.
For the better part of the morning, as for most of the trial, Routh sat, rarely looking anywhere but at the screen where photos were projected, or straight ahead, taking notes and talking with his attorneys. Yet another stark contrast to the victims’ families who seemingly felt each word from the witness stand and each photo shown as Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash and Assistant Attorney General Jane Starnes presented the state’s case against Routh.
Armstrong explained photos and evidence taken from the Routh home in Lancaster the night of the murders. He told the jury, the rangers who entered the home discovered a tin can containing several items of drug paraphernalia including two ceramic pipes used for smoking marijuana, rolling papers and a grinder. In another box in the addition to the room, Armstrong testified he found a metal box containing a bong, also used for smoking marijuana.
During the search of the house, Armstrong photographed an almost empty whiskey bottle sitting on the kitchen table, and took a jean jacket hanging from a dinning room chair as well as the paraphernalia as evidence. When Tom Moore for the defense cross examined him, Armstrong said he could smell marijuana in the home, but said he didn’t include that information in any of his reports on the search of the home.
James Watson, Routh’s uncle, reported seeing his nephew twice that Saturday. The first was in the morning when Routh’s girlfriend Jen Weed called him to come calm Routh down after an argument between the two. Watson testified he and Routh smoked ‘high-grade marijuana’ that morning before Kyle and Littlefield arrived to pick up Routh. He didn’t recall drinking any whiskey that morning, though he said it wouldn’t be unusual for them to drink in the morning.
Watson said he heard someone walk up the driveway and Routh went out to meet them, and then was gone, leaving Watson on the back porch, the door unlocked and his dog loose – which Watson said was the most unusual.
The next time Watson saw Routh was later in the afternoon, when Routh came by to show off his ‘new’ black truck and 9mm handgun. Watson testified Routh said he was ‘driving a dead man’s truck,’ though Watson didn’t find this odd.
“That was just the kind of thing Eddie said sometimes,” he told the jury. “Ever since he got out of the Marines he talked about himself like that. Like the government was always after him and someone was always out to get him.”
James Jeffress, a forensic science expert with the Garland Department of Public Safety Lab, collected and evaluated evidence from Kyle’s truck, as well as what was delivered to the lab from Rough Creek Lodge by the Texas Rangers. He told the jury he received 10 guns from Rough Creek and two more from the truck. He also received a large number of shell casings, including three 9mm casings that matched a 9mm handgun found in the truck, and eight 45 auto shell casings that matched a Springfield XD 45 handgun found on scene at Rough Creek Lodge. Those are the two guns believed to be used in the murders of both Kyle and Littlefield, as projectiles found in the bodies matched the weapons.
The Donald R. Jones Justice Center will open its doors at 8 a.m. Monday for the media and public, and the trial will get back underway at 9 a.m. Road closures around the building will continue next week from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.
There are lots of ways to keep up with the trial locally without fighting the traffic, closed streets and security, including online right here on The Flash, by listening to KWBY or on either of our Facebook or Twitter accounts (FB – Flash || KWBY; Twitter – Flash || KWBY).