On Tuesday, a Texas jury found ex-Marine, Eddie Routh, guilty in the killing of his friend and fellow Marine, Chris Kyle. Prosecutors rejected an insanity plea, claiming that Routh was afflicted by marijuana psychosis.
During closing arguments, prosecutors in the widely publicized “American Sniper” case scoffed at the notion that the defendant, Eddie Routh, was legally insane. Routh had previously been committed to psychiatric hospitals before the killing of two of his fellow Marines in Stephenville, Texas. The prosecutors blamed the use of marijuana in the deaths of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.
After Routh killed both Kyle and Littlefield during a trip to the shooting range, Routh stole Chris Kyle’s truck and proceeded to drive to Taco Bell for a burrito. Rather than viewing this as a clear indicator of his mental state, the prosecution said that this was evidence that Routh was perfectly sane at the time of the murder, and had a case of the the munchies.
During the trial, prosecutor Jane Starnes said,
“You killed two men, and you’re going to go to Taco Bell. But I mean, think about that, too. What does it take to go and order fast food? So you’ve got to go through the right lane; you’ve got to place your order; you’ve got to interact with the clerk; you got to give them the money, get your change, get your food and go. It’s not something that somebody who’s just out of their mind delusional does. What does it sound like? It sounds like somebody who has got the munchies and they got to go get their Taco Bell.”
It would be remiss not to sympathize for the tragic loss of life in this case and the families of those killed. However, throwing out this mentally unstable soldier’s insanity plea to rekindle the use of ‘Refer Madness’ in a court of law seems like the citizens of this small Texas town have just wound the clock back by 80 years.
What is tragic about the trial itself is that our society cannot acknowledge the clear indication of this wore-torn soldier’s mental illness, and has once again senselessly blamed the use of marijuana for an act of violence.