The family of Chad Littlefield, who was murdered along with Navy SEAL Chris Kyle at a Texas gun range in 2013, said they were “joyous” about the guilty verdict determined in the trial on Tuesday.
RELATED: Chad Littlefield, the other man shot
In less than three hours, a Texas jury found Eddie Ray Routh guilty of capital murder in the killings of Kyle, the late veteran portrayed in the hit film “American Sniper,” and Littlefield, his friend and neighbor. Routh, a former Marine corporal who served in Iraq but not in a combat role, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The jury rejected the insanity claim proposed by the defense.
“It was an answered prayer. We’ve waited a long time to hear that, and we feel justice was served,” Littlefield’s mother, Judy, said Wednesday on the “TODAY” show.
Routh killed both Littlefield, then 35, and Kyle, then 38, at the shooting range of Rough Creek Lodge and Resort on Feb. 2, 2013. The two friends had taken Routh to the range reportedly to help his transition from combat to civilian life. An employee found the bodies of Littlefield and Kyle later that day; police say Routh, now 27, admitted to the fatal shootings, and relatives claim he was suffering from PTSD at the time.
During the “TODAY” interview, Littlefield’s brother, Jerry Richardson, said Routh’s mental illness “was all an act.” Richardson said he had taught Routh when he was in high school.
Details about Littlefield’s life and death have been largely overlooked amid the attention paid to Kyle, now that “American Sniper” cast his reputation as the country’s deadliest sniper in a largely heroic light. Littlefield is widely referred to as “Kyle’s friend,” mentioned only in passing.
Now that the trial has ended, though, his family said they are eager to honor and talk about his life. They previously feared jeopardizing the trial if they spoke about him.
Littlefield wasn’t a veteran, but he wanted to help the individuals returning from war, they said.
“He would always talk to us, ‘I want to help these men that are coming home in any way I can,’” his father, Don, said during the interview. He described his son as a quiet man and a good listener.
“Chad was always a helping hand. He was a rock,” his mother said. “If he was your good friend, you had a friend.” His motto was “pass it forward,” his dad added.
“American Sniper” was nominated for “Best Picture” at the Oscars. The film lost the award to “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” at the show on Sunday.