'American Sniper' Interrogation Tapes Played in Court

ABC News' Ryan Owens reports the latest on the trial of the man accused of killing Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
3:52 | 02/17/15

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Transcript for 'American Sniper' Interrogation Tapes Played in Court
This high drama in the American sniper murder trial. As the jury heard the confession of Eddie routh, videotaped just hours after he gunned down Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield it could undermine his insanity defense and ABC's Ryan Owens has the latest. Reporter: Head down and hands cuffed, Eddie routh appears to be napping at the start of this police interrogation video. Later, the jury watches him look around the room. At one point trying to put on his glasses. Not easy with his hands behind his back. Of course, it's what he says to the Texas ranger hours after shooting Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at this gun range that may matter most. You know what you did today is wrong, right? You understand that, asked the ranger. Yes, sir, replies routh. The judge will not allow audio to be broadcast until after the verdict but on the tape, routh further acknowledges his guilt by apologizing to the victims' families. I'd sell them I'm so sorry for what I done. If I could have done it differently, I'd done it a whole lot differently. The accused double murderer is incoherent through much of the hour plus long tape. But he does detail parts of the crime like who he shot first. Chris Kyle, the hero of the blockbuster "American sniper." I just want to get the bad guys. Reporter: I knew if I didn't take out his soul he was coming to take mine, routh says. I'm tired of playing chess with my life. His attorney previewing that P paranoia in opening statement. What he said was that he had killed them before they could kill him. Reporter: Prosecutors also played a series of voice mails routh left on Chris Kyle's phone the week before the shootings. One included a bizarre rant about the weather. The defense argues the man in the voice mail and on this tape is sick and doesn't know what he's talking about. Especially when he says, he knows what he did is wrong. For "Good morning America," Ryan Owens, ABC news, stephenville, Texas. Thanks for that. Dan Abrams here right now. The standard for insanity is knowing the difference between right and wrong. He says he did. Sounds like they're ask the ultimate question but, remember, while this is not helpful to his defense at all, this idea of him coming forward repeatedly by the way asked that three or four times in the interview not helpful. With that said, if he is legally insane, he's not the guy to ask. Right? I mean, as a legal and practical matter, if he doesn't understand right from wrong asking that guy isn't the right person to be asking about that. You have to look at the tape in its totality about 50 something minutes long. There are a number of periods in there where he seems sort of incoherent talking about head hunters and saving his soul. He's talking about needing to do it. Insanity always really, really tough to win. But the defense hoping they focus on sort of the totality. When you look at the whole 56 whatever minutes anything else damaging in the tape. The more damaging part is not the part about right or wrong but expressing remorse. By saying he's sorry about what he did, there is an appreciation that what he did was wrong and I think that's the more damaging part for the defense here than asking him to make a legal assessment about his mental state. Insanity defenses are very tough to win, you've said but this a relatively close call. Compared to most insanity defenses this one is a close call because there's clearly evidence that he's mentally ill. But there are also sort of indication avocation that are coming out with just inklings of understanding what he did was wrong. A tough legal standard to demonstrate you didn't understand what you did was wrong is tough for the defendant. He is in a tough legal spot but there is evidence here that no question he was mentally ill. The question is how mentally

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