By JESSIE HORTON
STEPHENVILLE (February 19, 2015) — The end is near.
The defense rested Thursday in the State of Texas v Eddie Ray Routh, who shot and killed American Sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield on a gun range at Rough Creek Lodge on Feb. 2, 2013. They didn’t fight the fact that Routh shot the men, but whether he knew it was wrong.
The prosecution’s rebuttal will include two new expert witnesses who are scheduled for Friday with closing arguments and jury deliberation expected to follow on Monday.
Routh raised his right hand and swore he understood his rights, but did not wish to testify. Other members of Routh’s family did take the stand, including his mother, Jodi Routh, his sister and brother-in-law, Laura and Gains Blevins, and his uncle, James Watson. Other witnesses included his ex-girlfriend, Jen Weed, and Dr. Mitchell Dunn, a forensic psychiatrist and expert witness for the defense.
Dunn, who interviewed Routh for more than six hours, said his metal health issues began sometime in 2011, and he was first hospitalized in July of that year suffering from delusions. Those delusions only got worse, and in the weeks leading to the murders, Dunn said, Routh became schizophrenic.
He said Routh was exhibiting signs of psychosis leading up to and on the day of the murders. His delusions included the belief that his co-workers were cannibals, his neighbor – who happens to be a Lancaster police officer – was a member of the Mexican Mafia and the government was out to get him, Dunn told the court.
“There was something really wrong with Eddie Ray Routh on the day of the incident, and that something wrong was a mental disease,” Dunn told the jury. “He began to think they were half pig and half man – a pig hybrid. He saw other people around him as hybrid people… He thought Jen (Weed) might be turning into a pig hybrid because her ears looked different and she smelled different.”
Dunn told the court that due to his psychosis, Routh’s mental health deteriorated, so much so that on the day of the murders, he didn’t know his conduct was wrong. Throughout his numerous stays at Green Oaks and the VA Hospital in Dallas, Routh was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but Dunn said on Thursday that he didn’t believe the diagnosis was correct.
“It’s my opinion that there is no PTSD,” Dunn testified. “The patient suffered no trauma, and without trauma, there cannot be PTSD.”
After getting out of the VA Hospital the last time, Routh told Dunn he was consumed by the thought of pig-human hybrids and felt like pigs were taking over the world. He also told Dunn that he ‘began to think that Mr. Kyle and Mr. Littlefield were some type of pig hybrid assassins – hybrid pigs sent here to kill people.’ Routh also told Dunn heading toward the gun range, he ‘began to think to himself that this might be a one-way trip.’
After shooting both Littlefield and Kyle, Routh told Dunn that Littlefield was ‘twitching around’ on the shooting deck, so he walked over and shot him again in the head. Dunn told jurors that Routh said he’d ’neutralized the threat.’ He also said after standing over the bodies for about a minute, he realized how bad the situation would look and left in Kyle’s truck, heading back to his family to ‘talk things out.’
During cross examination, Dunn told Assistant Attorney General Jane Starnes that Routh killed the two men because he believed them to be a threat to his safety. He killed them even though he knew it was a mistake and that the police would be after him to arrest him.
“He said it was a pretty s – – – – – thing to do, to shoot two people, but that he was just defending his rights,” Dunn testified in court. “He believed he was acting before he could be killed. But he said, ‘as soon as I did it I knew I had made a mistake, but I was just defending my rights.’”
Dunn also said Routh called running from the Lancaster Police ‘dumb.’ and that he said he was driving ‘recklessly.’ He said Routh told him during their interview that he probably should have called the police from the range.
Dunn contended that Routh was suffering from a sever mental disease during the time of the murders and therefore falls under not guilty by reason of insanity. He said Routh’s disease is more under control now that he is taking his medications regularly.
Routh will face life without the possibility of parole if convicted, since Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash and Starnes will not seek the death penalty. Another option the jury will consider is finding Routh not guilty by reason of insanity, which would send him to the State Hospital in Vernon.
The Donald R. Jones Justice Center will open its doors at 8 a.m. Friday for the media and public, and the trial will resume at 9 a.m. Road closures around the building will continue 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).