The Drs: American Sniper Trial
The Doctors kicked off their Friday News Feed by talking about the trial for the man accused of killing Chris Kyle, who is featured in the movie American Sniper, and Chad Littlefield. Chris Kyle’s wife and mother were supposed to testify in the trial. The man’s lawyers are saying that he was insane at the time of the murders.
Dr Travis Stork said it leads you to question where the worlds of law and medicine intersect, because it is known that people can have psychotic breaks that will sometimes cause them to do really bad things. Dr Drew Ordon said the ironic thing is that the man who shot Chris Kyle, Eddie Routh, was actually going to the shooting range to help with his PTSD, and now he’s using PTSD as his defense.
Dr Rachael Ross said she’s tired of the insanity plea and Dr Ordon said “it’s like a get out of jail free card.”
The Drs: Insanity Defense
The Doctors welcomed lawyer Areva Martin to explain the insanity defense. She said that you can’t call it a get out of jail free card, because they’re not going home. They would be going to a psychiatric hospital. She said most people who are successful with the insanity defense end up in a mental hospital for a long time.
She said the main thing is whether the person knew what they were doing was right or wrong. She said it’s not about whether they had PTSD or another disease, but whether he knew at the time that it was wrong to kill.
Dr Ross said they’re not going for the death penalty here, so really it’s jail or psychiatric hospital. Once they can prove that you’re legally sane, you’re released from the hospital, which is shocking. Areva explained that only in about 1% of all legal cases is the insanity defense even used.
The Drs: PTSD Causing Violence
Even when used, it’s rarely successful. The burden of proof is pretty high in order to be successful with the insanity plea. Areva said the defendant in this case has to prove that he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong. The jury will ultimately make that call.
Dr Ordon said in a relatively small amount of cases of PTSD, it will lead to violence. Areva said there is a lot of evidence about Routh’s threats to kill himself, his family members, and his hospital staff, as well as combat duty and time in Haiti helping earthquake survivors. The prosecution is claiming that he didn’t even see any combat to cause PTSD. The PTSD is reportedly from his time in Haiti.
Areva said there was a text Chris Kyle sent to another friend saying that Routh “looks nuts.”