STEPHENVILLE — A jury of two men and 10 women was selected Monday at the trial for Eddie Routh, the man accused of killing Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.
Opening arguments are expected to begin on Wednesday.
Defense attorneys have indicated they will try to show jurors that Routh is mentally insane.
Jerry Loftin, a longtime attorney who has handled high-profile cases for decades, says that is probably the only chance Routh has to be found not guilty.
"Either way, both sides will try to disentangle Routh’s complicated pre-war past from whatever mental scars he might bear.
Friends who knew him told the New Yorker in a riveting 2013 investigation that as a teen, Routh was a “standard troublemaker” with no respect for teachers:
Kc Bernard, who was a security guard at the school for two of the years that Routh was there, said that Routh was “always ready to fight” and “had a chip on his shoulder.”
But his dispatches to family while he was deployed suggest that Routh was also haunted by the death he witnessed in the war zone, including one incident in which he might have killed someone while on patrol.
Routh served four years in the military and was stationed in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 and on a disaster relief mission in Haiti in 2010. He returned to the United States and worked odd jobs, and he was reportedly prescribed eight medications to treat a wide range of symptoms, including depression, mania and nightmares, according to the New Yorker.
His complex psychological profile and troubles with substance abuse that his family coped with upon his return are almost standard for people with PTSD.
“Other than depression, PTSD has more co-morbidities than any other mental disorder,” said Edna Foa, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who developed a breakthrough treatment protocol for PTSD. “So it is very common to have PTSD and also depression and also other anxiety disorders, and many other morbidities.”
Though not everyone does, some people with PTSD experience flashes of anger as a symptom. When anger on rare occasions turns to violence, it could be because the person is experiencing a flashback, which might to them seem like a potent hallucination, Foa said."
I don't know -- I wasn't there and I've never examined Mr. Routh. Could severe PTSD contribute to a successful NGRI defense? Sure -- it has before. His lawyer is right, though -- compared to Chris Kyle, he's not a terribly sympathetic defendant. But those New Yorker snippets make him look to me like a pretty typical Marine Corps recruit, not a psychopath. I will say this: whatever treatment he received from the VA didn't work.
And let's hope that Chris Kyle's brand of PTSD-treatment -- taking veterans to gun ranges -- is abandoned forever in the wake of this tragedy.