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‘American Sniper’ trial: Portrait emerges of Chad Littlefield, slain friend of Chris Kyle

Judy Littlefield, the mother of Chad Littlefield, is shown photos of her son by Assistant District Attorney Jane Starnes on the witness stand during the murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh in Stephenville, Tex. (Tom Fox/pool photo via European Pressphoto Agency)

STEPHENVILLE, Tex. — A day before Chad Littlefield was killed alongside Navy SEAL veteran Chris Kyle, allegedly by a military veteran struggling with mental illness, he told his mother he wanted to brush up on his Bible stories so he could share them with his daughter. He’d always had strong Christian faith, his mother said, but being a father had changed him for the better.

“He told me, ‘Mom, it quit being about me the day that little girl was born. It’s all about her now,’ ” said his mother, Judy Littlefield.

The elder Littlefield testified about her son on the first day of the murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh, 27, who is accused of killing Kyle and Littlefield on Feb. 2, 2013, and then escaping in Kyle’s pickup truck.

The case has generated international attention because of Kyle’s role in writing “American Sniper,” a memoir that recently was turned into a blockbuster movie. But the opening day of the trial also painted a fuller picture of Chad Littlefield, a quiet, unassuming friend of Kyle’s who suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the attack that also killed Kyle.

Taya Kyle, the sniper’s wife, told the court Wednesday that she introduced her husband to Littlefield on a soccer field where their daughters played on a team. She had hit it off with Littlefield’s wife, Leanne, but Chris Kyle and Littlefield also got along well, Taya Kyle said.

[RELATED: Taya Kyle gives tearful testimony during trial]

The two men had a similar sense of humor, and developed a habit of working out together at 5:30 a.m. before work, Taya Kyle and Judy Littlefield said. They were friends before “American Sniper” was published in 2012, and remained close afterward.

“Just being together was cool,” Taya Kyle said, describing the easygoing friendship between the two men. “You didn’t have to talk if you didn’t have anything to say.”

Littlefield would have turned 38 on Wednesday, his mother told the court, her voice wavering. He was the son of a high school football coach in Dallas and although he did not serve in the military, he had a passion for helping veterans, she said.

Littlefield worked as a logistics manager at Eagle Labs in DeSoto, Tex., which performs water purification for small rural towns in the area. He and his family lived about two miles from the Kyles in Midlothian.

Judy Littlefield told the court that her son had visited her and his father, Don, the day before the killings. He stayed about three hours, and talked about his daughter, Morgan, now 9.

“He was always either calling or coming by,” his mother said. “He’d never let more than two days go by without coming to see us.”