Routh confesses to Texas Ranger in video

By Bethann Coldiron

Texan News Service

Local TV stations report on the day's proceedings. Photo by Kasey Burgan

Local and national TV stations report on the day’s proceedings. Photo by Kasey Burgan

Eddie Ray Routh, the former Marine on trial in the double slayings of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield two years ago at Rough Creek Lodge, confessed to the murders in a videotaped interrogation by Texas Ranger Danny Briley.

Briley, the lead investigator on the high-profile case, is the son of Darlene and Bill Briley of Glen Rose.

“I killed two men today,” Routh told Briley in the confession made the evening of the killings. “I knew if I didn’t take his (Kyle’s) soul, he would get mine.”

The dramatic video was played for the jury Monday in the second week of the capital murder trial. Routh’s attorneys have said their client is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Routh’s mother, Jodi, a special-education teacher at the Midlothian elementary school that Kyle’s children attended, had reached out to the retired Navy SEAL to help her son. Rough had been in and out of trouble and psychiatric facilities after returning from service in Iraq and Haiti. His attorneys said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was psychotic at the time of the killings.

Kyle, who often worked with veterans having trouble adjusting to civilian life, decided to take Routh on a shooting sports excursion to Rough Creek where he had designed the firing range. His friend Littlefield came along.

Kyle, reputed to be the U.S. military’s most lethal sniper, was shot six times and Littlefield was shot seven times at Rough Creek’s gun range on the afternoon of Feb. 2, 2013. When Rough Creek employees arrived at the range to check on the men and discovered the bodies, Routh was missing and so was Kyle’s black Ford pickup truck.

Hours later, Routh was taken into custody after a high-speed chase from his Lancaster home to Interstate 35 south of Dallas. The chase, captured on a police car dash-cam, was part of the dramatic multi-media testimony presented during the trial at the Donald R. Jones Justice Center in Stephenville.

At the Lancaster Police Department, the 90-minute interrogation took place from 11:25 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2013, and lasted until almost 1 a.m. Under questioning by Briley, Routh made many rambling, bizarre statements.

“I got tons of people who are eating up my soul right now,” he said. “I wish the world wasn’t such a soulless place, you know?

Briley stated that Routh answered questions in a very “philosophical manner” several times. Then at other times he spoke strangely, such as when he said, “I can smell pig (expletive) and bull (expletive).”

Ranger Briley questioned Routh about past drug use and Routh admitted that he had smoked “wet” marijuana that morning. “Wet” marijuana often is laced with formaldehyde, Briley said. A bong was found among Routh’s possessions at his house.

In the video, Routh appears relaxed at times, sitting in a chair with his head resting on the table in front of him and his eyes closed. Several times he asked if his handcuffs could be removed.

Routh didn’t at first notice the blood of the two men he shot on his boots as he was interrogated by Briley.

“Did you notice that there is blood on your boots?” asked Briley.

“Oh yeah, a little bit,” replied Routh, as he bent down to stare at his feet.

Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash asked Briley, “Did he (Routh) confess to killing Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield?”

“Yes, he did,” said Briley.

Routh told Briley he shot Littlefield using a 9mm Sig Sauger semi-automatic pistol. It was a Navy SEAL-issue firearm engraved with an anchor and belonged to Kyle.

“You know what you did today is wrong, don’t you?” asked Briley.

“Yes, sir,” replied Routh.

“Is there anything you want to say to the families? What would you say to the family if you could?” asked Briley.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done, and we can work this out,” Routh said. “I am so sorry for what I have done and I wish I could have done it differently. I wish these handcuffs weren’t on me. I want to go to hell for this.”

The Texan News Service is a product of the Department of Communication Studies at Tarleton State University. Follow live blogs and get more news about the trial and the Cross Timbers area at www.texannews.net.

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