Eddie Routh signed drawing
Eddie Routh signed drawing
On February 2, 2013, Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, age 35, were shot and killed by Eddie Ray Routh at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas. Both Kyle and Littlefield were armed with .45-caliber 1911-style pistols when they were killed, but neither gun had been unholstered or fired, and the safety catches were still on. Kyle was killed with a .45-caliber pistol, while Littlefield was shot with a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun. Both guns belonged to Kyle.
Routh was a 25-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Lancaster, Texas. Kyle and Littlefield had reportedly taken Routh to the gun range in an effort to help him with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Routh had been in and out of mental hospitals for at least two years, and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. His family also said he suffered from PTSD from his time in the military. On the way to the shooting range, Kyle texted Littlefield, "This dude is straight up nuts." Littlefield responded, "Watch my six", military slang meaning "watch my back". Four months later, while he was in his jail cell, Routh shared with former Erath County Sheriff's Deputy Gene Cole: "I was just riding in the back seat 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've forgiven me."
After the killings, Routh went to his sister's house in Midlothian and told her what he had done. His sister, Laura Blevins, called 9-1-1 and told the emergency operator: "They went out to a shooting range ... Like, he's all crazy. He's ... psychotic."Local police captured Routh after a short freeway chase, which ended when Routh, who fled the scene in Kyle's Ford F-350 truck, crashed into a police cruiser in Lancaster.
A memorial service was held for Kyle at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on February 11, 2013. He was buried on February 12, 2013, at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, after a funeral procession from Midlothian to Austin that stretched more than 200 miles Hundreds of people lined Interstate 35 to view the procession and pay their final respects to Kyle.
Routh was arraigned February 2, 2013, on two counts of capital murder, and was taken to the Erath County Jail for holding under a $3 million bond. His trial was set to begin May 5, 2014 but was delayed to allow more time to comply with DNA testing requirements. The trial began on February 11, 2015.
On February 24, 2015, Routh was found guilty of killing Kyle and Littlefield. The jury returned the verdict after less than three hours of deliberations. Since prosecutors decided beforehand to not seek the death penalty, the trial judge, Jason Cashon, immediately sentenced Routh to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
The drawing is signed, Eddie Routh.