Famed "American Sniper" author and a friend were killed at a North Texas gun range

Chris Kyle, Chad Littlefield Murder Cases Move Closer to Trial

By Kendra Lyn
|  Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013  |  Updated 4:56 PM CDT
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Tuesday, the case is moving forward against the man accused of fatally shooting a Navy SEAL sniper and his friend at a North Texas gun range.

Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News

Tuesday, the case is moving forward against the man accused of fatally shooting a Navy SEAL sniper and his friend at a North Texas gun range.

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Tuesday, the case is moving forward against the man accused of fatally shooting a Navy SEAL sniper and his friend at a North Texas gun range.

Eddie Ray Routh, 25, is facing capital murder charges after police said the troubled war vet shot and killed Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. history and author of the best-seller "American Sniper," and Chad Littlefield at an Erath County gun range in February.

Routh, who only looked down during most Tuesday's two-minute arraignment hearing, told a judge Tuesday morning that he understands the charges against him before his attorney entered a plea of not guilty.

Routh was last in a courtroom last month when a jury indicted him of murder.

Photos and Videos

Eddie Ray Routh Arraigned

The man accused of killing former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and another man at a Texas gun range has appeared before a judge for arraignment. Eddie Ray Routh made a brief court appearance today in Erath County. His trial is scheduled to begin in late October.
More Photos and Videos

The Marine reservist is accused of turning a semi-automatic handgun on Kyle and Littlefield as the pair had been trying to help Routh cope with post-combat stress.

Prosecutors believe the evidence is stacked against Routh. Investigators claim Routh confessed to the killings to his sister and told her he “traded his soul for Kyle's truck."

Police chased Routh down hours later in Kyle's F-250 and arrested him at his sister's Lancaster home.  Since Routh’s arrest, he's been put on suicide watch, on medication and in solitary confinement in the jail after attacking a guard.

Routh's mental health will be a key issue in the case.  He'd reportedly been getting treatment at the Veteran's Administration for PTSD.  Records show he was taken to a mental hospital twice for threatening to kill himself and his family.

Kyle and Littlefield, brought Routh to the gun range as part of his therapy. That’s where he’s accused of turning on them.

A judge issued a gag order, so attorneys can't talk about the case.  Currently, Routh's pre-trial hearing has been set for Sept. 16 and the trial is expected to begin Oct. 21.  He currently remains jailed on $3 million bond.
 

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