As they investigated the shooting deaths of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle and another man, officials discovered drug paraphernalia, marijuana, prescription pill bottles and whiskey inside accused killer Eddie Ray Routh's home, a Texas Ranger testified in court today.
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The murder trial's third day focused on Routh's drug use and the state of his home after he was arrested for killing Kyle, 38, a famed former Navy Seal sniper, and Kyle's friend, Chad Littlefield, 35. Routh's uncle later testified about how the pair smoked marijuana together on the morning of the shooting.
Ranger David Armstrong described the layout of Routh's home and the various drug-related objects found there, also including ceramic pipes, a bong, a drug grinder and marijuana.
Armstrong shows the jury Routh's bong. pic.twitter.com/qji2mTK3sk— Ali Ehrlich (@ehrlichABC) February 13, 2015
Prosecutors have highlighted Routh's alleged drug use and alcohol consumption on the morning of Feb. 2, 2013, hours before Kyle and Littlefield picked up the veteran, who they did not previously know, and took him to a gun range in an effort to help him cope with reported post-traumatic stress disorder.
Defense attorney Tim Moore argued during his opening statement on Wednesday that Routh, now 27, fatally shot Kyle and Littlefield because he was suffering from psychosis and feared they might be out to kill him.
During Armstrong's cross examination, Moore suggested many of the prescription pills found on top of Routh's refrigerator had been prescribed to him to treat schizophrenia.
Routh's uncle, James Watson, testified this afternoon about the time he spent smoking marijuana with Routh on the morning of the shooting.
Watson said the marijuana was strong and his high lasted about for about three hours, after which time Kyle arrived at the home and picked up Routh to go to the shooting range. He disagreed with assertions made by a prosecutor in the trial's opening statements, saying that he and Routh did not drink alcohol that morning.
Watson, 45, told the court about how Routh "didn't seem to find much joy in his life after he came back" from a humanitarian mission in Haiti, and that he and his nephew spoke about religion during their time together that morning.
"We're a God-fearing people," Watson said of his family, adding that Routh had morals and "knows right from wrong." The question of whether Routh knew right from wrong when he shot Kyle and Littlefield is a distinction critical to an insanity defense.
Routh saw Watson again later that day after the shooting. The then-25-year-old, who he said regularly drove a Volkswagon bug that had been painted to look like a ladybug, arrived at Watson's home driving Kyle's truck, which prosecutors have said Routh took after shooting Kyle.
"Check out my truck," Watson recalled Routh saying. "I'm driving a dead man's truck."
Another witness, Officer Gene Cole, who worked for the Erath County Sheriff's Department at the time of Routh's arrest, told the court that he overheard Routh saying in jail that he shot Kyle and Littlefield because he felt slighted.
Cole testified: "I heard Mr. Routh say, 'I shot them because they wouldn't talk to me. I was just riding in the back seat of the truck and nobody would talk to me. They were just taking me to the range so I shot them. I feel bad about it but they wouldn't talk to me. I'm sure they have forgiven me.'"