American Sniper has been one of the most talked-about films of the century. Its subject matter polarizes conservatives and liberals as to whether its subject, former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, was a hero or a barbarian. But as that debate continues to rage across theaters, a very real-world and tragic aftermath to the film has come to an end.
In 2013, disturbed ex-Marine Eddie Ray Routh gunned down Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, at a shooting range.
The crime occurred while director Clint Eastwood was putting the finishing touches on his film, so the majority of the trial drama has played out in real time.
On Tuesday, that drama ended with a guilty verdict, and the jury at Stephenville, Texas, where the case was being tried, did not buy the insanity defense on which Routh’s attorneys were resting their case.
Along with the verdict, Eddie Ray Routh was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“We’ve waited two years for God to get justice for us on behalf of our son,” said Littlefield’s mother, Judy, in a meeting with reporters immediately following the announcement, reported here by the New York Times.
“And as always, God has proven to be faithful.”
Routh was 27 when he shot Kyle, 38, and Littlefield, 35. Part of his insanity defense involved claiming the duo had planned to take his life, or so he thought, and that they would claim his soul.
The Inquisitr reported on more of this defense earlier in the month.
Routh actually said at one point that he shot Kyle and Littlefield because “they wouldn’t talk to me” and that he felt bad about it, but that he was sure “they have forgiven me.”
He also said that he imagined people around him were “half-man and half-pig.”
In the end, the American Sniper killer was unable to convince jurors, and sentencing was passed shortly after the verdict returned.
Television personality Nancy Grace added on her Twitter feed that it took the jury just three hours to reach its final decision Tuesday night.
— Nancy Grace (@NancyGraceHLN) February 25, 2015
Others reacted with gratefulness and enthusiasm at the verdict.
@NancyGraceHLN So thankful to the jury in Texas. Life without parole!! My prayers with the Kyle and Littlefield families tonight.