Eddie Ray Routh has been found guilty of capital murder in the deaths of two men, including Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle, the protagonist of Clint Eastwood’s best picture Oscar nominee American Sniper. Routh was promptly sentenced to life in prison without parole. The jury began deliberations at 7:36 p.m. ET. The murder occurred at a Texas firing range two years ago. Kyle, 38, and his friend Chad Littlefield, 35, who was also killed, took Routh to the firing range for therapeutic purposes. They were dead when officers responded to a 911 call. Prior to his death, Kyle was involved in helping former troops suffering from PTSD.
Defense attorneys for Routh said he had a long history of mental illness, however, prosecutors dismissed that claim saying that Routh knew the difference between right and wrong. Jurors had three choices of guilty, not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity.
The trial comes in the wake of American Sniper‘s release at the box office where it has broken several January records, becoming Eastwood and Bradley’s Cooper’s highest grossing live action film of all-time with $320.8M. The film won an Oscar for best sound editing on Sunday. Pic was based on Kyle’s bestselling book. Kyle is known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. history with 160 confirmed kills in Iraq.