he widow of the Navy SEAL depicted in the Oscar-nominated film “American Sniper” clutched military dog tags as she told jurors about her final moments with her husband, just hours before he and a friend were killed at a Texas gun range.
Taya Kyle was the first prosecution witness called Wednesday in the murder trial of the ex-Marine accused of fatally shooting Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield two years ago. The trial in the small town of Stephenville, located about 30 miles from the rural luxury resort where the men were killed, has attracted national attention with the recent release of the blockbuster movie based on the memoir of the sniper who served four tours in Iraq.
Defense attorneys are seeking an insanity defense for Eddie Ray Routh, 27, who faces life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder. Kyle had taken the troubled Marine to the shooting range after Routh’s mother asked Kyle if he could help him.
Taya Kyle paused and then her voice broke when a prosecutor asked her to give jurors the name of the man she’d married. But her testimony was conversational and compelling and she often looked straight at jurors as she talked about him, smiling when she said he had attended Tarleton State University in Stephenville before leaving to ride broncos in the rodeo and later joining the Navy. Some of the jury members were brought to tears.