Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News
Eddie Ray Routh appeared in an Erath County Court Monday for a pretrial hearing, the hearing was short ahead of his trial scheduled for October 21.
Eddie Ray Routh, the man accused of fatally shooting a Navy SEAL sniper and his friend at a North Texas gun range, was in court Monday for a pre-trial hearing.
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.
In a two-minute arraignment hearing on Aug. 20, Routh told a judge that he understands the charges against him before his attorney entered a plea of not guilty.
A jury indicted Routh in July and his trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 21.
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.
A judge issued a gag order, so attorneys can't talk about the case. Routh remains jailed on $3 million bond.