Routh’s lawyers to appeal guilty verdict

By Kathryn Jones

Editor

Eddie Ray Routh and his mother, Jodi. (Photo courtesy of the Routh family)

Eddie Ray Routh and his mother, Jodi, in happier times.  (Photo courtesy of the Routh family)

Attorneys for Eddie Ray Routh, the former Marine sentenced to life in prison last week for murdering Chad Littlefield and Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sharpshooter whose autobiography inspired the movie “American Sniper,” plan to file an appeal to overturn the jury’s guilty verdict.

The legal team filed a notice of the appeal on Tuesday in Erath County district court.

One of Routh’s attorneys, Warren St. John of Fort Worth, told The New York Times last week that he believed more than half of the 12 jurors had seen “American Sniper.” The film was released three weeks before the trial started in Stephenville on Feb. 11.

Although District Judge Jason Cashon said that seeing the movie would not disqualify people from serving as jurors, St. John said he thought it “affected their ability to be fair and impartial.”

Last Tuesday, the jury of 10 women and two men found Routh guilty of capital murder. The two-week trial, held under tight security, attracted worldwide media attention.

“We don’t think that we got a fair trial in that small community, not that there’s not some good folks there,” the Times quoted St. John as saying. “It’s because of the publicity, and the movie came out right then, and the governor right before we started the trial had a ‘Chris Kyle Day.’ We thought it should be in a bigger jurisdiction where the jury pool would be more diverse than it was in Stephenville.”

The appeal will be filed with the Eleventh Court of Appeals in Eastland.

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