The Instigator
BuergerMan16
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
CASmnl42
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

The man who killed Chris Kyle should be put in jail or given the death penalty.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
CASmnl42
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/8/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,059 times Debate No: 69634
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)

 

BuergerMan16

Pro

I believe that Eddie Routh should be sentenced to life for the killing of Chris Kyle, (considerably the deadliest sniper in US history). I also believe that he was a converted Muslim, for reasons I will soon enclose. First off, many mainstream media claim that Routh had PTSD when he never served in ANY military combat. Routh served as a prison guard on a military base in IRAQ and didn't have any documented traumatic experiences. An article on Allenbwest.com states that he is a converted muslim. This is because he often felt empathy for the prisoners and tried to help them. Good luck to you.
CASmnl42

Con

Thank you for posting this topic - I look forward to debating with you.

Although the proposition is stated somewhat ambiguously, I take from your introductory statement as a whole that you will be arguing that Mr. Routh should be found guilty of murder in connection with the shooting deaths of Mr. Kyle and Mr. Littlefield, and that a maximal sentence should be imposed.

I will argue that from the available evidence, there appear to be facts sufficient to support a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. I will also argue that even if a guilty verdict is reached, mitigating factors in Mr. Routh's case warrant a lesser sentence than life in prison. As a corollary, I will argue that the specific factors you mention -- I.e., Mr. Kyle's status as a sniper and speculation about Mr. Routh's alleged Muslim conversion -- have no legal or moral bearing on Mr. Routh's potential sentencing.

A few preliminaries: I understand that as the proponent, you bear the burden of proof. I also propose that the rounds proceed as follows:

1: Acceptance / introduction
2: Opening arguments
3: Rebuttal arguments
4: Conclusions

I'll look forward to your opening argument.
Debate Round No. 1
BuergerMan16

Pro

BuergerMan16 forfeited this round.
CASmnl42

Con

My opponent has forfeited Round 2, and has not advanced any of the arguments he outlined in his introductory remarks. I will gladly extend my opponent the courtesy of an extension. Round 3 should therefore be used for primary arguments, and Round 4 for rebuttals and a conclusion. Should my opponent forfeit Round 3, I will use Round 3 to advance my positive case for why Mr. Routh should be found not guilty by reason of insanity and, even if convicted, Mr. Routh's apparent mental illness should mitigate his sentence.
Debate Round No. 2
BuergerMan16

Pro

BuergerMan16 forfeited this round.
CASmnl42

Con

My opponent has forfeited Round 3. I will now present my affirmative case in opposition to the resolution.

Eddie Ray Routh shot and killed Chris Kyle and and Chad Littlefield at a shooting range on Feb. 2, 2013, near Chalk Mountain, Texas. There were no witnesses. The men had never met before that day. [1] He is currently on trial. [2]

Eddie Routh is entitled to a fair trial

Mr. Routh is entitled to a trial decided by impartial jurors who will base their decision on the evidence presented at trial, and who have not prejudged his guilt or innocence based on his victims, the media, or politics. Specifically, Mr. Routh's guilt or innocence has nothing to do with whether one regards Mr. Kyle as a hero or a liar [3], or American Sniper as meritorious or insipid. We do not judge the accused by the character of their victims, but by their own actions.

My opponent mentioned rumors of Mr. Routh converting to Islam. The source, a website for former congressman Allen West, contains irresponsible speculation, gives no evidence for its claim, and admits that no proof of conversion exists. The article has been eviscerated by Mr. West's less credulous ideological allies. [4] Even if it were true, however, our system does not punish people based on their religious beliefs, but again, for their actions.

Mr. Routh is entitled to jurors who will judge his actions not based on his victim or his religion, but as an equal citizen under the law.

Eddie Routh was likely legally insane at the time of the killings

Mr. Routh has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. [5] The insanity defense requires that "as a result of severe mental disease or defect, [a defendant] did not know that his conduct was wrong." [6] In Texas, the insanity defense requires one or more reports from disinterested, qualified experts. [7] Importantly, though, legal insanity does not depend on any particular psychiatric diagnosis. Thus, although there are legitimate discrepancies concerning Mr. Routh's military record, [5] they are irrelevant to whether he could tell right from wrong at the time.

The available evidence is persuasive that Mr. Routh was unable to understand the nature of his actions. In the five months prior, Mr. Routh was twice committed to a mental hospital and released against his family's wishes. [8] After the killings, he stole Mr. Kyle's truck, and told his sister he "traded his soul" for it. He ranted to police about anarchy feeding off of his soul, the voodoo all around him, and being stalked by cats. [2] Routh "spoke of 'talking to the wolf"the one in the sky' and of 'smelling pigs' and of streets in Texas that are no longer straight and towns that are no longer square. He laced some of his sentences with profanity and references to political entities such as the 'world council' and the 'Communism Party.'" [9] This is consistent with his sister's 911 call, in which she said Mr. Routh stated "people were sucking his soul and that he could smell the pigs," and that "he was going to get their souls before they took his." [10]

These are plainly delusional statements, and support the conclusion that Mr. Routh was unable to understand that he was acting wrongly by shooting two men who, in his mind, were out to take his "soul." [11] We do not hold people criminally responsible for actions that they do not have the rational capacity to understand -- even when one of the victims was well-known and, by some, well-regarded.

If found guilty, Mr. Routh should be given a less-than-maximal sentence.

Mr. Routh has been charged with capital murder for killing two people in the same criminal transaction. [12] His prosecutors have not sought the death sentence, having likely weighed the high probability that a jury would find Mr. Routh's mental health at the time of the killing to be a mitigating circumstance warranting a lesser life sentence. If Mr. Routh is convicted of capital murder, he will be automatically sentenced to the lesser sentence of life without parole. [13]

The jury need not convict Mr. Routh of capital murder to hold him criminally responsible. They may find Mr. Routh's delusional beliefs, while not rendering him legally insane, justify a lesser-included offense, such as first- or second-degree murder. [14] These offenses could be punished anywhere on a range of 2 to 99 years in prison, with the possibility of parole. [13]

Given Mr. Routh's military service and apparent mental illness, a lesser sentence with the possibility of supervised release after treatment and a determination that he no longer presents a danger to himself or those around him would be an appropriate exercise of judicial discretion.

I urge your vote for Con. Due to character limitations, the source list is posted in the comments.
Debate Round No. 3
BuergerMan16

Pro

I will now state my reasons as to why Mr. Routh should be prosecuted severely.

1. It seems fishy that he just killed two people out of the blue and I don't think he actually has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don't even see how he would've gotten it because he worked in a jail watching Muslim extremists (terrorists). Maybe they raped him or something. Other accounts are stating that he was "mentally insane", but we need to know the reasons for it. It would take a lot of insanity to kill two guys that have been being nice to you ever since you just met them. He does have a right to a fair trial, so give him one right now. The people on your side are upset that the movie just came out because they feel it glorifies Chris Kyle, it could be seen as that but it is just a movie about his life made to honor him.

2. Reports have come out that Routh did indeed work at a prison in Iraq, and people seem to think that he was a converted Muslim, because he often felt bad for the prisoners and thought they should be treated better. If they can really prove that he was a converted Radical Muslim, I believe that closes the case. Mr. Routh had to have known who Chris Kyle from all the media Chris was getting so I think he had a plan when he went out there that day.

Here are my two reasons for Routh's guiltiness, sorry I didn't do the last rounds.
CASmnl42

Con

My opponent failed to make his primary arguments until Round 4, and even then, they amount to little more than a slightly-longer restatement of his opening. My opponent agrees that Mr. Routh is entitled to a fair trial, and has not addressed my argument that, even if convicted, Mr. Routh is entitled to a less-than-maximal sentence--those two points, then, advance unchallenged. I will briefly rebut my opponent and conclude.

-Whether Mr. Routh has been diagnosed with PTSD and whether that diagnosis is justified is mostly irrelevant; people react to the stress of deployment in many ways, and one does not need to see direct combat (or suffer a sexual assault - was that really constructive speculation?) to develop PTSD. That said, the statements Mr. Routh apparently made on the day of the killing seem to this layman to be less reflective of PTSD than they are of a potential psychotic or disassociate episode. Disorders causing such episodes can arise organically in anyone. The specific diagnosis does not matter to the legal question of insanity.

-My opponent misreads people on my "side" who are "upset" about American Sniper. The only opinion I'll state concerning the movie is that if I'm going to spend the money to see something in the theater, I prefer it to be set in outer space. What is important is to make sure that Mr. Routh is judged impartially, and not based on people's admiration for Mr. Kyle. The popularity of the movie makes it more difficult for Mr. Routh to obtain an impartial jury; the Court must exercise its responsibility to ensure that the jury has not prejudged Mr. Routh because of the film.

-My opponent states that "people seem to think that [Mr. Routh] was a converted Muslim." Which people? The only people who seem to think so are the irresponsible person who started the rumor on Allen West's website, despite admitting to a complete lack of proof, and the irresponsible people who spread the rumor uncritically. Given the absolute, utter lack of any reasonable evidence supporting this rumor, it might be fairly suspected that those who trade in it are intentionally leveraging anti-Muslim bigotry for their own purposes. That Mr. Routh may or may not have sympathized with the treatment of prisoners is poor evidence of a conversion - one can empathize with human suffering, even deserved human suffering, without adopting the sufferer's religion. My opponent has not established any good reason to think that any conversion occurred.

-Even if Mr. Routh had converted - which is, as noted, hardly even worthy of speculation - this has no bearing on whether he could tell right from wrong the day of the shooting. Even if Mr. Routh had written reams of jihadist propaganda and sworn to kill a thousand famous veterans, it would not matter if, on the day of the killing, Mr. Routh was suffering from a mental illness that made it impossible for him to distinguish right from wrong.

In closing, my opponent agrees with me that Mr. Routh is entitled to a fair trial, but focuses only on one aspect of trial - that Mr. Routh should be "prosecuted severely." Perhaps he should - though prosecutors have a duty to seek justice, not retribution - but he should also be defended zealously, and judged impartially. Based on the actual evidence that we have available - the delusional statements made by Mr. Routh to the police and his family after the killings - there is good reason to believe Mr. Routh was not operating mentally in any recognizable reality and is thus not guilty by reason of insanity.

I urge a vote for Con, and thank my opponent again for suggesting this debate.

As a completely irrelevant side note, this is the first debate I've participated in, and is now the first I've completed. I'm quite enjoying the site and the opportunities to engage different viewpoints. Looking forward to participating more with the community.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by TBR 2 years ago
TBR
Woops!! Missed your references in the comments. You should have gotten that point from me.
Posted by warren42 2 years ago
warren42
Someone please message me once this debate reaches the voting period.
Posted by CASmnl42 2 years ago
CASmnl42
Round 3 source list:

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[2] http://www.dallasnews.com...
[3] http://www.nationalreview.com...
[4] http://www.havokjournal.com...
[5] http://www.washingtontimes.com...
[6] Tex. Penal Code Sec. 8.01
[7] Tex. Code Crim. P. Ch. 46
[8] http://www.dallasnews.com...
[9] http://glenrosecurrent.com...
[10] http://www.wfaa.com...
[11] http://www.theguardian.com...
[12] Tex. Penal Code Sec. 19.03
[13] Tex. Penal Code Ch. 12
[14] Tex. Penal Code Sec. 19.02
Posted by BuergerMan16 2 years ago
BuergerMan16
Routh being a converted Muslim is a crucial reason for why he killed the two Veterans that day on the range.
Posted by AFism 2 years ago
AFism
what does being muslim have to do with the debate?
Posted by Proving_a_Negative 2 years ago
Proving_a_Negative
That is perfectly fine. I am pretty sure you can edit the debate still since nobody accepted it.
Posted by BuergerMan16 2 years ago
BuergerMan16
Sorry I am new to this
Posted by Proving_a_Negative 2 years ago
Proving_a_Negative
2 rounds? Definitely need more than that.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by warren42 2 years ago
warren42
BuergerMan16CASmnl42Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con wins conduct because of the forfeit, but would have even if Pro hadn't forfeited, as Pro made a multitude of anti-Islamic comments. The rest goes Con because of forfeit.
Vote Placed by TBR 2 years ago
TBR
BuergerMan16CASmnl42Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: When pro showed to make his case, he did nothing but speculate. The premise of the question got short attention, most of the effort was an attempt to label the mas as a Muslim.
Vote Placed by RavenDebater 2 years ago
RavenDebater
BuergerMan16CASmnl42Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF