'American Sniper' Killer Was Drunk and High on Day of Shooting

By May Wilkerson 02/12/15

According to prosecutors, former Marine Eddie Ray Routh drank alcohol and smoked weed the day he killed Chris Kyle.

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in American Sniper Warner Bros.

Former Marine Eddie Ray Routh was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he killed former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, of American Sniper fame, said prosecutors in court yesterday. Routh is on trial for murdering Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, at a shooting range in February 2013.

Prosecuting Attorney Alan Nash said Routh, 27, drank whiskey and smoked pot, including "wet," a joint dipped in formaldehyde, on the morning of the shooting.

Nash described the defendant as a “troubled young man” but argued that his history of mental illness should not absolve him of murder charges.

"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," said Nash. "This defendant knew what he was doing was wrong.”

Defense attorney Tim Moore claimed that Routh was “in a grip of a psychosis” and felt that he had to kill Kyle and Littlefield to protect himself. “He thought in his mind that it was either him or them,” said Moore. “That he had to take their lives because in his psychosis he was thinking they were going to take his." After the shooting, he allegedly drove to his sister’s house in Kyle’s truck and said “people were sucking his soul.”

The case has entered the public eye largely due to the success of Kyle’s memoir about being a sniper in Iraq, and the Oscar-nominated blockbuster directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle. It has also highlighted the mental health struggles that many vets face.

Routh served in Iraq and was later deployed to post-earthquake Haiti before leaving the marines in 2010. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.