Bradley Cooper filming "American Sniper"

Man Who Killed Real Life American Sniper Jailed for Life

25 Feb 2015

The troubled veteran has been given life in prison without parole

The man who shot and killed American Sniper hero Chris Kyle has been found guilty of capital murder.

Eddie Ray Routh will serve life behind bars without the possibility of parole after a jury declared the "troubled veteran" shot Chris Kyle, who inspired Clint Eastwood's hit new film, and his friend Chad Littlefield at a Texas gun range in 2013.

During an emotionally-charged end to the two-week trial, Littlefield's stepbrother, Jerry Richardson, read a statement to Routh in court.

He said: "Because of you and your irresponsible choices, we lost a great son, brother, father and uncle... and that will never change. Those are traits you'll never experience, because you took the lives of two heroes - men who tried to be a friend to you. And you became an American disgrace."

During the closing arguments, Kyle's widow Taya closed her eyes as she listened to Routh's defence lawyer attempt to convince the jury his schizophrenic client was deluded and believed in his mind that his victims "were going to kill him".

Tara Kyle eventually stood and walked out of the courtroom, slapping the door with her hand in apparent disgust as she left.

District Attorney Alan Nash urged the jury to convict Routh stating, "It's time for his deep well of excuses for violent criminal behaviour to come to an end."

Before the verdict was read on Tuesday night, the members of the jury were reminded exactly what happened at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range on 2 February, 2013, as Kyle and Littlefield attempted to befriend a fellow veteran.

Routh shot Littlefield in the back and then turned his gun on Kyle and shot him six times. Realising that Littlefield was still alive, the gunman shot him twice through the head.

At the end of Eastwood's film, Bradley Cooper, who portrays war hero Kyle in the film, heads off to the shooting range with the actor playing the real-life sniper's killer.