TIME Crime

Eddie Ray Routh Found Guilty of Murdering American Sniper Chris Kyle

The 27-year-old was sentenced to life in prison

A Texas jury on Tuesday found Eddie Ray Routh guilty of the murder of American Sniper author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Routh, 27, a former Marine, admitted to killing ex-Navy SEAL Kyle and Littlefield at a shooting range in 2013, but professed his innocence because of supposedly suffering a psychotic break. Erath County district attorney Alan Nash told the jury to ignore Routh’s insanity defense, arguing that his apparent episodes of mental instability were caused by alcohol and marijuana abuse, according to the Associated Press.

“I am tired of the proposition that if you have mental illness that you can’t be held responsible for what you do,” he said.

Routh’s defense attorney Warren St. John insisted that his client was battling schizophrenia, claiming that the mental disorder created a delusion that Kyle and Littlefield were going to kill him.

“He was not intoxicated, folks, he was psychotic,” he said.

The case, heard in Stephenville, Texas, attracted national interest in large part because of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated film adaptation of Kyle’s book about his four tours during the Iraq war, with the controversial movie grossing over $430 million worldwide.

Kyle was renowned as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills.

Littlefield’s mother, Judy, expressed her relief at the guilty verdict outside the courtroom, “We’ve waited two years for God to give justice for us on the behalf of our son,” she said in a statement. “And as usual, God has been faithful and given us the verdict we want.”

TIME weather

Expect More Bad Weather in the Southern U.S. and Rockies on Monday

An Oklahoma Department of Transportation sand truck rest on it's top in the median of US 412 west of Enid, Okla. Sunday, after it was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Feb. 22, 2015
Billy Hefton—AP An Oklahoma Department of Transportation sand truck rest on it's top in the median of US 412 west of Enid, Okla. Sunday, after it was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Feb. 22, 2015

Motorists should prepare for hazardous travel conditions

The Rocky Mountains and Southern Plains are in for snowy and icy conditions Monday as a winter storm continues to move across the region.

Multiple accidents have already been attributed to the storm, with injuries being reported in Utah and Kansas, according to the Weather Channel. Motorists should continue to take utmost caution.

Those planning on catching a flight may want to double-check the status of their bookings. Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport canceled about half of the flights scheduled for Monday after already grounding around 160 flights on Sunday. Denver International canceled more than 330 flights over weekend, according to Denver’s Channel 7 News.

Meanwhile, schools in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico and Alabama have announced cancellations or delays of classes due to weather concerns.

Read next: 7 Reasons to Love This Freezing Weather

TIME LGBT

Gay Couple Becomes First to Wed in Texas

Marriage Equality
Eric Gay—AP A man wearing a rainbow-colored tie and Equality Texas flag rallies on the steps of the Texas Capitol to call for more equality for same-sex couples on Feb. 17, 2015, in Austin, Texas.

"We'll be making history"

Two women were legally married in Austin, Texas Thursday morning, becoming the first gay couple to wed in the state.

Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together almost 31 years, said their vows outside the Travis County Clerk’s Office, the Austin Statesman reports. The couple said they had been denied a marriage license there eight years ago. Their wedding comes just two days after a Texas judge ruled the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

“It’s very exciting,” Bryant said before her wedding. “My little one was worried about missing her history class. I said we’ll be making history.”

[Austin Statesman]

TIME Immigration

Judge Approves Injunction Against Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

Obama Discusses His Immigration Plan At Visit To Las Vegas High School
Ethan Miller—Getty Images U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about his executive action on U.S. immigration policy on Nov. 21, 2014, in Las Vegas

The judge asked all parties to submit a schedule for the resolution of the issue by Feb. 27

A South Texas judge has ordered an injunction on U.S. President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration that permitted millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the country.

“The court finds that the government’s failure to secure the border has exacerbated illegal immigration into this country,” the opinion by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen reads.

The 26 states that sued the federal government say the lawsuit isn’t about immigration, but “rule of law, presidential power, and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution.”

The plaintiffs argued Obama’s orders, which would spare up to 5 million people who are currently in the U.S. illegally from deportation, unlawfully suspended the nation’s immigration laws and stopping the order is the only way to protect them from further damage.

The states, which include Texas, North Carolina, and Alabama, also said the federal government’s actions are to blame for last summer’s crisis of droves of minors traveling across the southwestern border unaccompanied.

The Texas Attorney General’s office said on Twitter that the injunction is a “victory for the rule of law and a crucial first step in reigning in [Obama’s] lawlessness.”

In his order, Judge Hanen, a 2002 appointee of President George W. Bush, prevented any implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, until a resolution is reached or the court decides otherwise.

The Judge’s order gives a coalition of 26 states the opportunity to pursue a lawsuit that would permanently halt the President’s orders. Hanen ordered the parties to come to an agreement on the issue by Feb. 27, when they will be required to submit a schedule for its resolution.

In a statement issued early Tuesday, the White House said the President was well within his rights when he established the new immigration rules.

“The Supreme Court and Congress have made it clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigrations laws—which is exactly what the President did,” the statement reads. “The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect.”

According to the White House, the Department of Justice plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

Read next: Boehner: Senate Democrats Are to Blame If Homeland Security Shuts Down

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Regulation

Why Wal-Mart and Texas Are Headed for an Epic Showdown

141224_EM_walmart_1
Alamy

Two icons of "real" America are at loggerheads over a surprising issue

No state is more “real America” than Texas. No retailer is more “real America” than Wal-Mart. And no political opinion is more “real America” than “regulation bad.”

So it might come as something of a shock to learn that Wal-Mart stores in Texas are forbidden by law from selling booze—anything other than beer and wine. Wal-Mart is paying trial lawyers to sue the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in the U.S. District Court in Austin, challenging the law that forbids all publicly held corporations, hotels excepted, from selling hooch. The law violates the U.S. Constitution, Wal-Mart argues.

“One class of retailers—public corporations—[is] denied an opportunity to compete in the distilled spirits market, while another class of retailers—private corporations and publicly traded hotel corporations—are allowed to compete without similar restriction,” Wal-Mart argues in the lawsuit. “No other state in the nation allows private corporations to engage in the retail sale of spirits but prohibits some but not all publicly traded companies from doing so.”

And indeed, the distinction does seem odd—”irrational,” as Wal-Mart puts it. But as it turns out, it’s just another instance of one business interest versus another. In the lawsuit, Wal-Mart singles out the Texas Package Stores Association as the lobbying group that has fought hard to keep the law in place. It represents about half of the state’s approximately 2,500 liquor stores.

No retailer in Texas is allowed more than five package-store permits, so any chain that’s any bigger is barred from selling any booze other than beer and wine from its sixth store on up. Except that there’s a loophole. Wal-Mart notes in the lawsuit that families are allowed to “pool their package store permits into a single entity and collectively obtain an unlimited number of package store permits.”

A Wal-Mart spokesperson pointed out to the Dallas Morning News what for many people would be the most obvious argument against the law: “This is counter to Texas’ belief in free enterprise and fair competition, limits our customers’ choice[s] and keeps the price of spirits artificially high, all of which harm Texas consumers.”

TIME Lottery

North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas Tickets Win Powerball

A lottery representative hands out free Powerball tickets in Lincoln, Neb., Feb. 11, 2015
Nati Harnik—AP A lottery representative hands out free Powerball tickets in Lincoln, Neb., Feb. 11, 2015

The Powerball jackpot of $564.1 million will be split among the winning tickets

(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Tickets in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas have matched all six numbers to split a $564.1 million Powerball jackpot, lottery officials said Thursday.

Sue Dooley, senior drawing manager and production coordinator for the Multi-State Lottery Association, said the Puerto Rico ticket was the first Powerball jackpot winner ever sold outside the continental United States.

Puerto Rico joined Powerball less than a year ago. Besides 44 states and Washington, D.C., the game is also played in the Virgin Islands, but there has never been a jackpot winner there, Dooley said.

The Texas Lottery posted on Twitter early Thursday that one of the winning tickets was sold at Appletree Food Mart in Princeton, Texas. There was no immediate information on the cities or stores that produced the winners in North Carolina or Puerto Rico.

It had been nearly a year since a Powerball prize reached the giant number people have come to expect recently. That was last February, when someone won $425.3 million.

Wednesday’s jackpot was the third-largest in Powerball history and the fifth-largest U.S. lottery prize. The last time a Powerball jackpot climbed so high was May 2013 when a Florida ticket won a $590.5 million prize.

Should the winners select the lump sum option, each would get a one-third share of $381,138,450.16 before taxes. The other option is an annuity, under which the lottery would make payments 30 times over 29 years.

The largest payout in U.S. history was to three ticketholders in the Mega Millions game, the other national lottery drawing. That was a $656 million prize won in March 2012 by players in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.

In 2012, state officials who run Powerball and Mega Millions changed ticket prices and lowered the odds of winning jackpots in hopes the moves would increase the number of huge prizes and draw more players. The new rules worked, causing jackpots to repeatedly climb to record levels. More than half of the top 10 U.S. jackpots have been reached in the past couple of years.

The winning numbers in Wednesday’s drawing were: 11, 13, 25, 39, 54 and the Powerball 19.

The jackpot now goes back to $40 million for the next drawing on Saturday.

TIME Bizarre

A Texas Teenager Got Fired for a Tweet Before Starting Her Job

Employers use social media too, kids

A Texas teenager got fired from her new job less than 24 hours before she started after she used a couple of choice expletives to describe it on Twitter.

“Ew I start this f*** a** job tomorrow,” tweeted the teen with username @Cellla_. CBS reports that the job she was referring to was at a branch of Jet’s Pizza in Mansfield, Texas. Unfortunately for the luckless teen, her tweet was spotted by store owner Robert Waple.

“And no… you don’t start the FA job today! I just fired you!” he replied, “Good luck with your no money, no job life.”

Waple reportedly last tweeted in 2009, and logged on only to publicly terminate Cella’s employment.

His tweets have since been deleted, and the pizza chain’s corporate office told CBS: “We regret to see the manner in which this situation has been handled by both parties involved.”

Not that Cella seems too heartbroken about it.

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: American Sniper Murder Trial Begins in Texas

Eddie Ray Routh, 27, has pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity

The murder trial of the man accused of killing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle began Wednesday in Texas.

Eddie Ray Routh, 27, has been charged with fatally shooting Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range in Texas in 2013. Kyle’s autobiography inspired the Oscar-nominated movie American Sniper, in which Bradley Cooper played the expert marksman.

Watch #KnowRightNow to catch up on all the latest developments in the trial, and read more here.

TIME Texas

Jury Seated in Slaying of American Sniper Author

This combination of photos from the Routh family and the Erath County Sheriff’s Office shows Eddie Ray Routh
Routh Family/Erath County Sheriff's Office—AP This combination photo shows former marine Eddie Ray Routh, who is charged with killing Chris Kyle.

Two dozen people were dismissed from service because of publicity about the case

(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — A jury was seated Monday in the trial of a man charged with killing the former Navy SEAL depicted in the Oscar-nominated movie “American Sniper,” with the judge estimating no more than two dozen people were dismissed from service because of publicity about the case.

Ten women and two men will serve as jurors for Eddie Ray Routh’s trial, which starts Wednesday with opening statements. Routh, a former Marine, is charged with capital murder in the deaths of 38-year-old Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend, 35-year-old Chad Littlefield. Kyle and Littlefield were trying to help Routh when prosecutors say he shot them at a Texas gun range in 2013.

The movie based on Kyle’s memoir as a celebrated sniper who served four tours in Iraq has grossed nearly $300 million. In response to the attention paid to the Kyle case, officials called in more than four times as many potential jurors as they would for a regular trial. Yet it took just one day to seat the panel, after a screening process last week narrowed the jury pool.

Simply reading Kyle’s book or seeing the movie — which ends with a depiction of Kyle meeting Routh, followed by footage from Kyle’s funeral — weren’t grounds for dismissal. Instead, potential jurors were asked if they could set aside what they had already heard.

“It’s hard not to have knowledge of this case,” Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash said. “It’s pervasive.”

Judge Jason Cashon denied defense motions to delay the trial or move it to a different county and noted how few potential jurors were dismissed because of pretrial publicity.

Routh’s attorneys plan to pursue an insanity defense. Prosecutors won’t seek the death penalty. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

Family members have said Routh, 27, struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the Marines in 2010. The small arms technician served in Iraq and was deployed to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Kyle took Routh to the shooting range after Routh’s mother asked if he could help her son.

Kyle made more than 300 kills as a sniper for SEAL Team 3, according to his own count and earned two Silver Stars for valor. After leaving the military, Kyle volunteered with veterans facing mental health problems, often taking them shooting.

About two hours after Kyle, Littlefield and Routh arrived at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort on Feb. 2, 2013, an employee discovered the bodies of Kyle and Littlefield at the remote range.

Authorities say Routh drove to his sister’s house in Kyle’s truck, telling her and her husband that he had killed Kyle and Littlefield.

His sister told police that Routh “was out of his mind, saying people were sucking his soul and that he could smell the pigs.”

TIME real estate

These Are the Cities With the Largest Homes

many-green-houses-large-red-house
Getty Images

Not so surprisingly, the cities with the largest homes are on the whole more sparsely populated than major urban cities in the U.S.

This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247WallSt.com.

American families tend to spend about a third of their annual income on housing. Yet, depending on their location and the level of the family’s income, home sizes can vary widely. Based on data from property listings website Realtor.com, the largest homes in the U.S. are located in the Provo-Orem, Utah metropolitan statistical area, with a median home containing nearly 2,000 square feet.

Areas with the largest median home sizes also had among the nation’s higher estimated median home prices. Homes in seven of the 10 urban areas had median prices of more than $200,000 as of November 2014. A typical home in Boulder, Colorado cost $380,000, the 14th highest estimated median home price among all large metro areas.

While it is not particularly surprising that larger homes cost more, in many spacious homes were also pricier by square foot. In seven of the 10 cities the median price per square foot of property was in the top half of all metro areas reviewed, at over $105.

Relatively high incomes are required to afford these larger homes. All of the areas with the largest homes had median household incomes well above the national figure of $52,250 in 2013. Residents of Boulder were particularly wealthy, with a median household income of more than $71,000 last year.

While large urban areas tend to be relatively densely populated, the areas with the largest homes are on the whole more sparsely populated. The population density was well below the average across all metro areas of 6,321 people per square mile in all of these areas. Raleigh, North Carolina had just over 1,850 residents per square mile, one of the lower densities nationwide. By contrast, the areas surrounding Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City all had well over 10,000 people per square mile.

To identify the cities with the largest houses, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed median home square footage in the 200 largest core-based statistical area (CBSA) from Realtor.com. CBSAs are larger than most other geographies organized by the Census Bureau, and they often include several metropolitan areas. Median household income and educational attainment rates came from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Figures on population density are from the 2010 Census. Metropolitan area names and boundaries may have changed slightly since the data was collected. Unemployment rates came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are for October 2014.

These are the cities with the largest homes.

10. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
> Median square feet: 1,828
> Median estimated price: $150,000 (88th lowest)
> Median household income: $57,398 (62nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.8%

The living space of a typical house in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was 1,828 square feet, the 10th largest median home size in the nation. Most metro areas with the most spacious homes are relatively sparsely populated — perhaps freeing space for larger construction projects. Less 4,000 people lived in a square mile in Dallas in 2010, among the lower population densities. By contrast, the average metro area had 6,321 people per square mile. High incomes also likely explain the area’s large homes. A typical area household earned $57,398 last year, versus the national median household income of $52,250. This figure was also third highest among the 25 metro areas in Texas.

9. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
> Median square feet: 1,837
> Median estimated price: $207,000 (57th highest)
> Median household income: $61,750 (32nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%

As in several other areas in Texas, Austin area residents seem to prefer larger homes compared to most Americans. A typical house in the region contained 1,837 square feet of living space. The median price of $207,000, however, was on the high end. The area is home to some of the state’s wealthiest and most well-educated residents. A typical household brought in $61,750 last year, the second-highest figure in for a metro area the state. Also, 41.5% of adults had attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year, one of the highest rates nationwide and the highest rate in Texas. The unemployment rate was also well below the national unemployment rate, at just 4.0%.

8. Fort Collins, CO
> Median square feet: 1,851
> Median estimated price: $272,000 (29th highest)
> Median household income: $59,052 (50th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.0%

The large homes in Fort Collins reflect the area’s prosperity. Just 3.0% of the area’s workforce was unemployed in October, far below the national rate. Area residents were also well-educated, with 43.3% having attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013. The strong economy and well-educated populace helped raise incomes in the area, which in turn may have afforded residents the luxury of larger homes. A median home was quite spacious, with more than 1,850 square feet. Fort Collins’s was relatively sparsely populated, at just 2,712 residents per square mile in 2010. By comparison the average metro area had 6,321 people per square mile.

7. Greeley, CO
> Median square feet: 1,854
> Median estimated price: $224,000 (44th highest)
> Median household income: $58,611 (54th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%

Greeley had just 2,212 residents per square mile in 2010, one of the lower densities reviewed. Being a less crowded community may have helped encourage residents to build larger homes. Area homes were not only large, but also relatively expensive. The median home price in Greeley as of this past November was $224,000, among the higher values for a large metro area. Greeley’s home prices have increased at a faster rate than homes across the nation over the last five years. Residents were also relatively wealthy in 2013, with a household median income of $58,611.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser