STEPHENVILLE, Texas — A forensics expert testified Tuesday that "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle had no time to react when an ex-Marine opened fire on him at a shooting range two years ago.
"He absolutely never saw this coming," Howard J. Ryan, a forensics expert from New Jersey, testified Tuesday in the trial of Eddie Ray Routh.
Routh is charged in the deaths of the famed Navy SEAL sniper and his friend, Chad Littlefield. The trial has drawn extra attention because of Kyle's memoir and the blockbuster movie it inspired.
The trial resumed Tuesday after a day's delay due to icy weather. Court officials say closing arguments could begin as early as Tuesday afternoon.
Routh is charged with capital murder, but since prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty, he faces an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted. His attorneys have mounted an insanity defense, arguing that he was psychotic at the time and didn't know right from wrong.
Ryan, a law enforcement veteran, testified about his analysis of the crime scene as a rebuttal witness for prosecutors. Ryan noted the six gunshot wounds on Kyle were all on the right side of his body, indicating that he had relatively no movement when shot.
In assessing the crime scene, Ryan said, he took Kyle's skills as a marksman into account.
Littlefield was shot seven times, including in the back and the top of the head. Ryan says that the gunshot wounds at various locations on his body indicate the shooter was moving at the time.
He says it's logical to conclude the shootings happened at close range and the crime scene is a "very confined, very small area."
An earlier expert testified that both Kyle and Littlefield had loaded guns in holsters in their waistbands, but it didn't appear they were ever able to even remove them from their holsters.
Ryan testified that Routh had positioned himself between Kyle and Littlefield when he shot them. He testified that Routh shot Littlefield twice in the back before shooting Kyle, who was on the grass in front of the gun range's deck. Littlefield was shot while on the deck behind Kyle.
Ryan said Kyle was likely facing away from Routh when he fired.
After Ryan testified, a call was played in court from May 2013 between Routh and a reporter for The New Yorker. Routh said he started shooting Kyle while Kyle was finishing a magazine.
In a call between Routh and a reporter for The New Yorker, Routh is asked by the reporter if he thinks about the day he shot the men.
"It tore my (expletive) heart out when did I it," Routh said, later adding, "I guess you live and you learn, you know."