STEPHENVILLE -- Eddie Lee Routh, the man accused of killing former Navy SEAL sniper and author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning.
Routh, 25, appeared briefly in an Erath County court for his arraignment. He was indicted by an Erath County grand jury on one count of capital murder in July, more than five months after the alleged murders; two killings made it a capital case.
Routh, who was moved under heavy security from the Erath County Jail, said he understood the charges and said "Yessir," when asked if he understood the charges against him.
It was Routh's first appearance in court. He is accused of shooting and killing Kyle and Littlefield on Feb. 2 at the gun range at Rough Creek Lodge as they tried to help him with post traumatic stress disorder related to his military service.
According to the arrest affidavit, Routh left the scene of the shooting in the truck of one of his alleged victims and confessed about the crime to his sister and her husband later that night. Routh told them he "traded his soul for a new truck," according to the document.
The trial is set to begin Oct. 21.
Kyle was the best-selling author of "American Sniper," published in 2012, which recounts his experience killing insurgents from 1999 to 2009 as a Navy SEAL sniper.
Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, called Littlefield the "effortless, no expectations" friend her husband needed during a memorial service at Cowboys Stadium.
Routh's family released a statement on Feb. 26 expressing their "deepest condolences to the Kyle and Littlefield families" and said they wished they could thank Kyle "for his genuine interest in helping our son overcome his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."