“American Sniper” has become a cultural phenomenon as well as a hit, and it seems everyone has an opinion about the controversial movie. After breaking January box office records last weekend, Clint Eastwood’s film about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle became a point of discussion for many. Critics attacked the film for playing fast and loose with history, while others praised the film’s portrait of an American hero. Though it goes unseen in the movie, Kyle's mysterious death two years ago also intrigues many viewers, especially with Eddie Ray Routh, the man who shot Kyle, set to stand trial on Feb. 11.
Here are five facts to know about the killing before the trial begins Feb. 11:
1. Eddie Ray Routh, then 25, shot and killed Chris Kyle, 38, and his friend Chad Littlefield on Feb. 2, 2013, at a shooting range in Erath County, Texas. Kyle often took veterans, such as Routh, out on shooting ranges to work with them and help them cope with PTSD and related problems.
2. Routh was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. As a corporal, he was deployed to Iraq in 2007 and then to Haiti in 2010. His status at the time of the killing was as a member of the reserves.
3. Routh fled the shooting range in Kyle’s pickup truck, which he stole, and subsequently drove to his sister and her husband in Midlothian, Texas. There he confessed to what he had just done and they called the police. Routh was arrested after he tried to flee in another vehicle.
4. Routh has been charged with two counts of capital murder, for Kyle and Littlefield. Routh's lawyer plans to present a “temporary insanity” defense, claiming his client was suffering from severe PTSD at the time.
5. Having been diagnosed with PTSD, according to the Washington Post, Routh had been in and out of psychiatric facilities in the months leading up to the shooting and had made multiple threats to kill himself and family members.
Eddie Ray Routh's trial begins Feb. 11. Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.