DNA testing possible at trial of sniper's accused killer

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by LAUREN ZAKALIK

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaalauren

WFAA

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 1 at 6:00 PM

STEPHENVILLE — Accused killer Eddie Ray Routh was escorted into downtown Stephenville Tuesday with a heavy police presence. He then walked into an Erath County courtroom shackled, but hands free.

His glasses, mustache and heavy build are a far cry from the mugshot taken last year after he was arrested for murdering Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield, then escaping in Kyle's truck.

Littlefield's parents, Don and Judy, sat quietly in the courtroom Tuesday as they waited for new information. Routh was in court for a motion hearing about DNA, a motion that has the potential to delay the trial.

When Kyle's truck was recovered, investigators collected animal and human hair evidence, according to Melissa Haas of the state DNA lab.

In court on Tuesday, we learned that evidence was never tested, but that could soon change.

Judge Jason Cashon ordered the state DNA lab to count and itemize all the hair evidence because of a new Texas statute. Once that list is complete, there will be another hearing to determine if the evidence should be tested for DNA.

If it is then tested, that could possibly pose an issue for the scheduled May 5 trial start date. DNA testing can be a lengthy process, and it's unclear if the procedure could be completed by May.

However, it's too early to speculate because it's also still unclear if DNA testing is needed at all.

The next hearing date has not been set yet.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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