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“American Sniper” Will Affect Murder Trial of Man Who Killed Kyle: Defense Attorney

January 24, 2015  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
“American Sniper” Will Affect Murder Trial of Man Who Killed Kyle: Defense Attorney Chris Kyle (left) and Chad Littlefield (right) - Image courtesy of nbcdfw.com

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The #1 hit film American Sniper, which has made a staggering $110 million, will affect jurors ability to give his accused killer a fair trial according to his defense attorney.

Former Marine Eddie Ray Routh, 26, is scheduled to appear in court on February 11th. He is facing murder charges after he allegedly shot and killed Kyle two years ago at a Texas shooting range.

Image courtesy of crimeblog.dallasnews.com

Image courtesy of crimeblog.dallasnews.com

Routh’s defense pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Routh battled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D).

The movie details Kyle’s life, from the moment he met his wife to the four tours he did in Iraq and the hundreds of kills he registered, earning him the name “The Legend”.

Although the actual shooting death of Kyle is not portrayed in the movie, dramatic footage from his funeral is shown.

Routh’s defense is now claiming because of the large audience who viewed “American Sniper”, the film’s release will affect the trial.

J. Warren St. John, who is representing Routh, said in an interview with People magazine: “I think any case with significant publicity has an issue with picking a jury. I’ve had them in the past, and anything that has significant national attention makes it hard to pick a jury.”

During a Jury selection process, potential jurors are picked based on them having no knowledge of the case and the ability to be impartial.

George Parnham, who is a criminal defense attorney in Houston, is familiar with the criminal justice system in Texas and in his assessment, he doubts that Routh would get a fair trial saying: ‘Mr. Kyle is a hero in many people’s eyes, Due to the fact that this movie has gained intense public attention, it’s doubtful that a fair jury can be selected anywhere.”

Routh, 26, shot and killed both Kyle, 38, and his friend, Chad Littlefield, 35, at a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas. At the time of his death, Kyle had been trying to help Routh with his PTSD, when he took him to target practice.

During his four tours in Iraq, Kyle had 160 confirmed kills, but claimed 255 kills. Insurgents in Iraq called him the Devil of Ramadi and placed a $180,000 bounty on his head. Kyle was awarded both the Bronze and Silver Stars.

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