After nine days of testimony, an Erath County, Tx., jury deliberated for just 2 ½ hours last night before convicting Eddie Ray Routh of capital murder for killing legendary Navy SEAL sniper and “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield, reports the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Because prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty, Routh, 27, received an automatic life sentence with no possibility for parole. His defense asked the jury to find him not guilty by reason of insanity. If the jury had agreed, he would have been committed to a state mental institution.
After the verdict, Kyle's stepfather, Jerry Richardson, told Routh. “Because of you and your irresponsible choices, we lost a great son, brother, father, husband and uncle on Feb. 2, 2013. You took the lives of two heroes — men who tried to be a friend to you. You became an American disgrace.” In his final argument, prosecutor Alan Nash said it was time for Routh's “deep well of excuses for violent criminal behavior to come to an end.” “The guy is a doper,” Nash said. “He won't stay off dope. We are talking about hard-core cannabis abuse.”