STEPHENVILLE The man accused of killing a retired Navy SEAL sniper and his friend at a shooting range last year appeared in court Tuesday morning for a pre-trial hearing in Stephenville.

Eddie Routh was escorted into the court under heavy guard.

The defense presented 43 motions, including a request to remove the death penalty as an option. The judge denied the motion.

The defense also asked the judge to suppress written or oral statement the former Marine may have made after his arrest. The motion was carried over to another hearing scheduled for March 7.

According to police, Routh confessed to his sister and her husband that he shot Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield on Feb. 2, 2013 at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range in Glen Rose. Police said Routh fled the scene in Kyle's truck.

His sister told police he told them 'he traded his soul for a new truck,' read an arrest affidavit.

Family members told police Routh had a history of mental illness. In an interview with WFAA, Sundae Hughes, Routh's aunt, said her nephew suffered from post -traumatic stress disorder after serving four years, including a stint in Iraq.

Routh's mother asked Kyle for help with her son since the former Navy SEAL was known to reach out to fellow veterans.

Lawyers for Routh asked the judge to not allow prosecutors to use other alleged 'bad acts' by the defendant the day of the crime. But District Attorney Alan Nash argued some of the acts, including drug use before the murders, were intertwined with the crime.

Nash hasn't said whether he'll pursue the death penalty.

Jury selection is scheduled to start May 5.

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