STEPHENVILLE -- Just hours after the murders of former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield, Eddie Ray Routh gave a long, strange, rambling confession.
It was played in court in Stephenville Friday. Defense attorneys asked for the pre-trial hearing to try to keep the confession from ever being played for a jury in trial.
A Texas Ranger talked to Routh for about 45 minutes the night of the murders in February 2013. The ranger read Routh his rights, and asked if he understood. Ranger Danny Briley said Routh nodded.
Briley asked Routh why he did it.
Routh responded in a deep drawl, "I knew if I didn't take out his soul, he would take my soul next." He added, "I got tons of people eating my soul," and, "I can't sleep."
The former Marine’s thoughts meandered from a wolf in the sky, to warlords unhappy with him, to time in Iraq, and world counsels of men and women to solve problems. He was handcuffed, sitting inside an interview room at Lancaster police headquarters. He did not ask for an attorney, but did ask to see his mother.
In court, she sat a few rows behind him, wiping away tears.
About the murders, Routh said, "a couple few shots were fired. I was right up close to them." He said he knew what he did was wrong.
Asked if he had anything to say to the families, Routh replied, “I'm just sorry for what I’ve done. We can work this out."
"So sad how it had to happen," he said.
Defense attorneys say the bizarre answers to several questions show he was mentally unstable, and unable to understand his Miranda rights.
They filed an intent to raise an insanity defense.
But Routh also admitted he'd been smoking marijuana that might have been laced with other drugs.
When the hearing was over, Judge Jason Cashon asked for a clean copy of the video because it kept dropping out. He wants to study Routh's responses before issuing a ruling on whether jurors will get to see it.
Trial is set for May 5.
The video shook Chad Littlefield’s family. His mom, dad, and brother clung to each other in the courtroom.
They said they had never heard Eddie Routh’s voice. And now they were hearing him say he shot their son, and didn’t even know his name.
They said the only way they’re getting through this is by "walking on prayers."