Sniper Trial: It's Already Off Course

Hey, I'm no expert on a capital murder case and especially the insanity defense, but some basic rules apply in all criminal trials.  The State is obligated to prove that the defendant intentionally killed Chris Kyle. That's it. (Then it's up to the defense to raise any insanity defense.)

By all accounts of the opening statements, the defense isn't going to contest the murder -- they'll just say that the defendant was insane at the time he pulled the trigger.

So why is the wife being allowed to present this glowing and long presentation of Kyle's life? The only issue for this jury at this point is what happened at that shooting range that day. Yeah, some judges in Texas will give a little leeway and let you get into some background but not much. Whether Kyle was a good husband, good soldier, good father, etc. is technically irrelevant to the issue before the jury. That sounds harsh, but that's the law. And the opposite is also true: If Kyle had a history of dishonesty, it has no relevance to this case and the jury should not be allowed to hear it.

But you know what the prosecutors are doing?: Trying to let emotion trump facts.  They know the jury will be back there in that room in a couple of weeks deciding whether the defendant was insane. And they want them to remember Kyle's wife on the stand when they make that decision. Why? Her testimony has nothing to do with that issue, right? However, they want the jury to think, "He might have been insane, but I just can't vote that way and do that to that poor woman."  It's basically cheating which happens in almost every trial in one way or another.

Extra: We learned today that when Kyle and his buddy were on the way to the shooting range with the defendant, Kyle texted: "This dude is straight up nuts."