American Sniper is the most successful war film of all time, producing $470.2 million in the box office, and being the Warner Bros’ fifth highest-grossing film of all time. Based on a true story, American Sniper tells the story of Chris Kyle, a United States Navy SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed kills, making him known as America’s deadliest marksman in U.S. military history.
When Kyle returned home from his fourth tour, he was unable to adjust to normal civilian life. Because of this, Kyle seeked help from a psychiatrist who persuaded him to help other injured veterans in the Veteran Affairs hospital. From there, he met former Marine Corps veteran, Eddie Ray Routh, who later turned his gun on Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield at a shooting range, killing them both on Feb. 2, 2013.
Routh, 27, had been in and out of mental hospitals, being diagnosed with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He admitted to killing Kyle and Littlefield to his sister after confronting her at her home. She then called 911 to tell them what he had just done, without any clear motives.
In February 2013, Ralph was charged with two counts of capital murder. He was taken to Erath County Jail with a bond set for $3 million. The date for his trial was May 5, 2013, but was put on hold to allow more time to meet the DNA testing requirements.
More than a year after Kyle and Littlefield’s death, Ralph’s trial began Feb. 11, 2015. Ralph pleaded to insanity, though the jury concluded he didn’t fit the requirements of insane behavior. To meet the standards of insanity, the victim must not know the difference between right and wrong at the time the crime took place. If the jury found you to be insane at the time, you would not be charged as guilty. It took the jury less than three hours to decide that Ralph was sane, and that he knew that he wrongly murdered two people. "Ladies and gentleman,” begins prosecutor Jane Starnes during closing arguments. “That is not insanity. That is just cold, calculated capital murder. He is guilty of capital murder. He is not in any way insane.”
With that in mind, Ralph was decided as guilty, sentenced to life in prison without parole on Feb. 24, 2014. Many were pleased with the verdict, including Kyle and Littlefield’s family. "We've waited two years for God to get justice for us on behalf of our son, and as always, God has proved to be faithful," said Judy Littlefield, the victim's mother. "We're so thrilled that we have the verdict that we have tonight."
With the trial being put to rest, it added a sense of relief and closure to the families of the victims, as well as for public who were awaiting along with them.