STEPHENVILLE, Texas: Former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, whose autobiography was turned into the blockbuster movie “American Sniper,” was taken by surprise when was fatally shot two years ago at a Texas gun range, a forensics expert told a Texas jury on Tuesday.
Former Marine Eddie Ray Routh, 27, is accused of fatally shooting Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield multiple times at the range about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Fort Worth in February 2013 and then fleeing in Kyle’s pickup truck.
“He absolutely never saw this coming,” said crime scene analyst Howard Ryan, who was called by prosecutors as a rebuttal witness.
Kyle was shot several times at close range as he was mostly motionless, Ryan said. Two of the shots, including one that hit the spine, were incapacitating, Ryan said, adding Kyle was not facing the shooter.
Kyle was either shot in one burst or suffered the incapacitating shots and then took additional gunfire later, Ryan said.
Littlefield suffered wounds in several areas with the first being to his back, Ryan said. He later was shot in the head, either when he was on his knees or back.
Under cross examination, Ryan said he could not deduct anything about the state of mind of the shooter based on the physical evidence.
Closing arguments are expected as early as Tuesday. The case then would go to the jury of 10 women and two men at the court in the rural city of Stephenville.
Defense attorney are trying to have Routh declared innocent by reason of insanity and called a psychiatrist who testified he is a paranoid schizophrenic and showed signs of psychosis that could not be faked.
Prosecutors, seeking a life sentence without parole, called a psychologist who testified Routh has a personality disorder made worse by heavy drug use and has been faking schizophrenia.
The trial has focused renewed attention on Kyle, credited with the most confirmed kills of any U.S. military sniper, and the movie “American Sniper.”
Routh, who served with the Marines in Iraq and Haiti, had been admitted to Veterans Affairs hospitals after his service to treat mental illness. Prosecutors said Routh did not see combat in those deployments.
In videotape provided by police and shown in court, Routh admits to the shooting in a rambling speech that defense attorneys contend attests to his unstable mental state.