Text messages prove that Chris Kyle knew Eddie Ray Routh was crazy before being shot by him at the Texas gun range.-
NY Post- Something was wrong — she could tell by her husband’s voice and what he wasn’t saying.
The pretty widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle testified against his killer Wednesday, describing the war hero’s tense, terse voice during their last phone call, shortly before his death at the end of a Springfield .45 at a Texas shooting range.
“I said, ‘Are you OK?’ ” a tearful Taya Kyle, the trial’s first witness, told jurors in a packed central Texas courtroom Wednesday.
“He said, ‘Yup.’ ”
Taya said she had a “bad feeling” after that phone call, at around 2 or 3 p.m., when Kyle spoke to her from the Rough Creek Lodge gun range.
“Something was up, but I didn’t know exactly what,” she said.
On that afternoon in February 2013, a stoned and drunken Routh would shoot both men, leaving two wives without husbands and three kids fatherless.Kyle — the ex-Navy SEAL whose autobiography inspired the current Oscar-nominated movie — and his best buddy, fellow veteran Chad Littlefield, had taken distraught ex-Marine Eddie Ray Routh to a local range in hopes of helping him through his post-traumatic stress.
Taking the witness stand in a form-fitting brown dress, having hung his dog tags around her neck, Taya could barely say the name of her husband of 10 years without sobbing.
“Christopher Scott Kyle,” she said, naming the US military’s most deadly sniper, with 160 kills to his credit. “He was a good shot. He was good at what he did.”
The duo had parted tenderly that Saturday. “We said we love each other, and he picked up and hugged his kids like he always did,” she said of their 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.
But in their last phone call, “I would say he was irritated,” she said. “He thought that the guy had sounded excited to go. He thought he was doing something good,” she said of her husband, who after four tours in Iraq had made helping fellow vets his civilian mission. Often he would take them to gun ranges as a form of therapy. “It was short,” Taya said of the call. “Like, ‘I wish I could say more, but I won’t, because there are people around.’ ”
“Things were not right,” she told the jury of 10 men and two women. “I could tell something was up, but I didn’t know exactly what.”
By early evening, she got worried as Kyle wasn’t picking up his phone or answering her texts — but when their son announced after an afternoon of sports and games that he’d just had “the best day of his life,” she relaxed.
Then came to her doorstep the harbingers of grief: a small group of local police and two pastors.
When the prosecutor asked Taya, “Was there a point in time when you were told Chris was dead?” she answered tersely, “Yes,” then flicked her angry eyes briefly at the man who admitted killing him. Routh, 27, just stared straight ahead.
Hero veterans Kyle and Littlefield would be found within feet of each other on the shooting-range grounds. Kyle, 38, was shot five times in the back and once in his face. Littlefield, 35, was shot seven times.
Back in her seat in the courtroom, Taya, 40, sobbed, as did both victims’ family members, as two dozen graphic crime-scene photos were shown.
“First I saw a body laying in the grass,” shooting-range employee Justin Nabours, 29, testified of discovering Littlefield.
“Then I saw a body laying on the platform . . . His hat was still on his head,” Nabours said of Kyle’s baseball cap. “But he was face-down. His nose was in a pool of blood.”
Nabours said neither man showed any sign of life.
Phone calls and texts will play an important part in the trial. Routh is hoping to be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
As the three men drove to the shooting range, Kyle texted his pal Littlefield, sitting right next to him in the front of the pickup truck, about their edgy passenger in the back seat: “This dude is straight up nuts,” defense lawyer Tim Moore said, quoting the text in his opening statement.
“He’s sitting right behind me. Watch my six,” Littlefield replied in a return text, using military parlance for “Watch my back.”
Moore plans to use the texts, along with testimony by doctors and medical experts, to prove that Routh suffered a mental illness and did not know his conduct was wrong at the time he gunned down the two men.
But minutes into his opening statement, Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash told jurors to be skeptical. “That is a very, very narrow door that they have to break in order . . . to get away with that murder,” the prosecutor said of the insanity defense.
Routh had been repeatedly institutionalized in the months preceding the shooting and had spent the previous night in a paranoid stupor, trying in vain to quiet the voices in his head, his lawyer told jurors.
“He thought at that time it was either him or them,” Moore said. “He was going to take their souls,” the lawyer said Routh told his sister after the shootings.
“Before they took his soul.”
—Courtesy of Clash Daily