"Primary sources." That's what former Marines Daniel Racca and Spencer Walker at Warfighter News say the mainstream media is really missing during coverage of Eddie Ray Routh trial, "primary sources."
Routh is currently on trial for the murders of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a gun range in February 2013, and, seeing as he outright admitted to killing them, it would seem like an open and shut case.
But it's rarely so simple.
The defense team for Routh is mounting a full-court press on the "paranoid psychosis" insanity plea, citing heavily Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from Routh's service in Iraq and Haiti. In fact, his family began this press within just moments of hearing about their son's murder of Kyle and Littlefield, calling police and 911 to determinedly inform authorities that he been diagnosed with traumatic stress.
If the claim doesn't pass muster with the jury, he's liable to be sentenced to life in prison without any chance of parole.
In a post on their site titled "Eddie Routh: The Untold Story," Warfighter News details their comprehensive investigation involving interviews with three Marines who served directly with Routh, and several inconsistencies with the defense.
"We reached out to experts and did our own homework," Spencer Walker, Board Chairman and CEO of Warfighter News, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. "The defense is trying to claim Routh had PTSD, but our analysis shows that it's extremely unlikely. According to Dr. C. Alan Hopewell, former Senior Neuropsychologist for the Department of the Army, Routh's actions indicate paranoid schizophrenia. PTSD has been endlessly ripped out of its context. Our organization is essentially the only one looking at it from this angle."
The Marines failed, Veterans Affairs (VA) failed, and his parents failed to look into Routh's dark past and detect a dangerous pattern of drug abuse, deadly violence, and a misdiagnosis of PTSD, Walker said, adding that the choice of Routh's defense attorneys to blame his actions on PTSD essentially implies that every veteran suffering from PTSD is dangerous and potentially a murderer.
"If they just looked at Routh's history of violence and erratic behavior, they'd realize it's impossible to classify his disorder as PTSD," Walker said.
In their investigation, Warfighter researchers used the Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon/Humanitarian Service Medal database.
"The database shows that he didn't even have a combat action ribbon, which his not hard to get and would have been given out had Routh been anywhere near combat," Daniel Racca, Chief Operating Officer of Warfighter News, told TheDCNF.
"Routh was never near any incoming. Where he was located on the camp, he was rather safe and cozy," said Cpl. Ryker Pawloski, a Marine who served with Routh in Iraq in the 8th Combat Logistics Battalion.
Warfighter News notes the American Psychology's recent conclusion that "[t]here is now accumulating evidence that suggests that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is linked to combat experiences," in a study about the effect of combat on special operations troops.
Racca and Walker, on the other hand, represent two generations of Marines and have both experienced combat action. According to Spencer, the VA is totally irresponsible when diagnosing PTSD, and in Routh's case, missed out on an opportunity to prevent this entire disaster.
In 2010, then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki reduced the burden of proof required to diagnose veterans with post-traumatic stress. Supporters of the move said it helped streamline benefits to veterans in need, detractors, including many vets, said it caused a huge glut of fakers looking for a payday.
Routh was diagnosed in 2011.
"If you go to a doctor and say I have anxiety, they'll treat you for anxiety," Walker continued. "If you're a veteran and you go to the VA, they'll say you have PTSD right off the bat. PTSD is one of the most over-diagnosed conditions in the veteran community and the VA hospital that Routh had gone to was one of the worst in the nation, but the VA does have a great public affairs office."
Routh had a history of drug abuse, outbreaks of violence, and also scored very poorly on the ASVAB test — a test which the military uses to assess intelligence and predict future success. He was called a troublemaker by a classmate for always looking to fight and reportedly refused to show respect for teachers.
In one example, while on deployment in Iraq, Routh snapped and beat another Marine — almost to death — for a harmless joke. Shortly after, Routh lost it again and attacked another Marine, Cpl. Ryker Pawloski, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Pawloski woke up convulsing. This was all swept under the rug, Warfighter alleges, and Marine officials didn't catch it.
"It really starts with the screening process. That's where the Marines check you for everything. One thing they don't do is psychological exams. That's a big fail on their part. They really only do those if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuses —which he did but it wasn't recorded. The Marines needed to fill quotas," Racca stated.
Routh's troubles didn't end after he finished active duty.
Back in 2011, Routh checked into the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center after obsessively complaining about a tapeworm. Doctors found nothing and failed to note it down as a somatic hallucination, one of the biggest early indicators of schizophrenia. For Racca and Walker, the murders could have been avoided had anyone paid attention to all the indicators, which pointed not to PTSD, but rather to paranoid schizophrenia and possibly bipolar disorder.
But Routh's parents didn't question the PTSD diagnosis. At the lake his family visited often, Routh's father recounted something chilling his son said straight to his face.
"It was all good but I don't know, something triggered him and he was telling me he was Dracula, that he was a vampire and wanted to suck people's blood," Routh's father stated. Routh's condition continued to degenerate from 2011 onward, leading up to the shootings in February 2013. After the shootings, Routh told his sister that "people were sucking his soul."
He repeated this statement to Ranger Danny Briley, telling him that "I got tons of people eating my soul."
J. Warren St. John, the main attorney representing Routh, is arguing that his client is not guilty because of insanity. As Tim Moore, just one of Routh's attorneys puts it, "he did not know what he was doing was wrong" due to psychosis.
Racca and Walker disagree completely. "His case, his actions speak louder than anything," they told TheDCNF, "He fled. He didn't sit in the back of the truck and say he didn't know what happened. He stole a truck and went to his sister's house. And after, he said that he was going to flee the authorities to Oklahoma. He made a clear, conscious decision."
District Attorney Alan Nash stated that Routh even bragged to his sister about the killings.
The jury consists of 10 women and 2 men. Judge Jason Cashon has placed a gag order on the trial, meaning that anyone closely involved is barred from speaking to the media. The trial is expected to continue for two weeks under tight security, ending sometime during the beginning of the Academy Awards, where the film the American Sniper is nominated in 6 different categories, reports The Guardian.
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