Home»Legal Encounters»Killer of 'American Sniper' Routh had marijuana, cocktail of other drugs in his system during shooting

Killer of 'American Sniper' Routh had marijuana, cocktail of other drugs in his system during shooting

Eddie Ray Routh
Eddie Ray Routh

Eddie Ray Routh, the accused killer of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, was under the influence of a cocktail of drugs including prescription pain killers, anti-depressants, alcohol, and was said to have smoked marijuana prior to killing Kyle and Chad Littlefield.

The former marine’s trial is now underway and the prosecutor, Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash, described the 27-year-old Routh as “a troubled young man” and said a history of mental illness should not absolve him of being accountable for the deaths.

Routh, who served in both Iraq and Haiti, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in July 2011. His mother stated that he had been in and out of Veterans Affairs clinics, however he showed no progress in two years, and his erratic behavior continued to spiral out of control.

It was at a gun range on February 2, 2013, where Routh shot both Kyle, 38, and Littlefield, 35.

“The evidence will show that mental illnesses, even the ones that this defendant may or may not have, don’t deprive people from being good citizens, to know right from wrong,” Nash said.

Defense attorney Tim Moore didn’t dispute that Routh accompanied the men to the shooting range but said he was insane, spiraling out of control from a history of mental illness and thought he needed to kill the two or they would turn on him.

Kyle and Littlefield became alarmed soon after joining up with Routh, Moore said. He read to jurors texts that he said the two men exchanged while driving with Routh in Kyle’s pickup to the range.

“This dude is straight up nuts,” Kyle texted to Littlefield.

“He’s right behind me, watch my six,” Littlefield texted back.

Moore told jurors that Routh was suffering from severe mental strain that day. “He thought he had to take their lives or he was in danger,” he said.

Routh faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

This past weekend veterans from around Texas met in Killeen near the Fort Hood base for a seminar to discuss using cannabis to help treat PTSD and other illnesses.

Studies have shown that marijuana has helped relax people, relieve anxiety, and increase the quality of sleep.

Clif Deuvall, a disabled Vietnam veteran and former teacher living in Waco, recently interviewed with a local news station about the need for medical marijuana to help veterans. He stated that although marijuana was found in Routh’s system, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a factor.

“With the storage of cannabis in liver fat cells, some which can remain for 30 days or more depending on the individual’s consumption rate, it’s no doubt that the medical officials found THC in his system, but one cannot say for certain that cannabis had any influence on Routh’s deadly decision,” Deuvall said. “It has been noted that Routh was having psychological difficulties and was mixing his medicine, which could have also been a contributing factor. But, that’s just opinion, just as the coroner’s ‘likely’ under the influence opinion.”

Deuvall, who heads up a non-profit organization in the area dedicated to marijuana law reform, NORML of Waco Inc., added “veterans are the ‘battle worn’ messengers needed in the debate on medical cannabis. Past and current legislatures — led by indifferent elected officials — have contributed to marginalized veterans. This indifference and marginalizing of veterans must not continue.”

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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