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Iraq war veteran arraigned in death of former U.S. military sniper

By Marice Richter

DALLAS (Reuters) - An Iraq war veteran accused of fatally shooting former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, a decorated sniper, and another man at a shooting range in Texas was arraigned Tuesday on two counts of capital murder, his attorney said.

Eddie Ray Routh, 25, was indicted in July on two counts of murder in the February shooting deaths of Kyle, and Kyle's friend, Chad Littlefield, at the upscale Rough Creek Lodge resort about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Routh, who is being held on $3 million bond, appeared in Erath County court for his arraignment on the charges, defense attorney R. Shay Isham said.

Routh would be eligible for life without parole or the death penalty if convicted. His trial is scheduled to begin October 21.

Kyle and Littlefield had taken Routh to the shooting range to help him relax and deal with personal problems, police have said.

Routh is accused of killing them, then fleeing in Kyle's truck to his sister's house in the Dallas suburb of Midlothian, where he confessed to shooting Kyle and Littlefield, police said.

In a 911 emergency call, Routh's sister and her husband told a dispatcher Routh suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had been hospitalized at a mental institution, police said.

Kyle served four combat tours of duty in Iraq and elsewhere and was awarded two Silver Stars and five Bonze Stars for bravery, according to his book, "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in Military History."

Kyle's book, "American Gun - A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms" became a best seller after it was published in June.

(Editing by David Bailey and Greg McCune; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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