Jury selection begins for trial over 'American Sniper' death

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Jury selection begins for trial over 'American Sniper' death
Taya Kyle, wife of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, wipes her eyes as she testifies during former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh's capital murder trial at the Erath County Donald R. Jones Justice Center, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. Routh, 27, of Lancaster, Texas, is charged with the 2013 deaths of Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Tom Fox, Pool)
STEPHENVILLE, TX - FEBRUARY 11: Taya Kyle (C), wife of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, is escorted to a waiting vehicle as she leaves the Erath County Donald R. Jones Justice Center February 11, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. Security is tight for the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, 27, of Lancaster, who is charged with the 2013 deaths of Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade / Getty Images)
Taya Kyle, second from left, wife of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, gives a wink towards Judy Littlefield, mother of Chad Littlefield, bottom right, after testifying in the capital murder trial of former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at the Erath County Donald R. Jones Justice Center, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. Routh, 27, of Lancaster, Texas, is charged with the 2013 deaths of Kyle and his friend Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Tom Fox, Pool)
This undated photo provided by the Erath County Sheriff’s Office shows Eddie Ray Routh, who was charged with killing former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range southwest of Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Erath County Sheriff's Office, File)
Eddie Ray Routh walks into court for a pretrial proceeding, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. The former Marine is accused of killing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range on Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero, Pool)
Flags wave outside the Erath County Donald R. Jones Justice Center Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. The building houses the courthouse that will hold the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, a former Marine accused of killing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield on Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Eddie Ray Routh walks to his seat in court, with law enforcement officers standing by, before a pretrial proceeding, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. The former Marine is accused of killing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range on Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero, Pool)
Judge Jason Cashon, back right, speaks to Eddie Ray Routh, left, and his lawyers Tim Moore, front right, and J. Warren St. John during a pretrial proceeding, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. The former Marine is accused of killing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range on Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero, Pool)
Judge Jason Cashon, right, listens to one of Eddie Ray Routh's lawyers Tim Moore during a pretrial proceeding, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. The former Marine is accused of killing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range on Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero, Pool)
A law enforcement officer stands guard outside the Erath County Donald R. Jones Justice Center Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. The building houses the courthouse that will hold the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, a former Marine accused of killing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield on Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AMERICAN SNIPER 2014 Warner Bros film with Bradley Cooper at right and Kyle Galiner
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2013 file photo Christopher Kyle's wife, Taya, is escorted to her seat after memorializing her husband in Arlington, Texas. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura sued Chris Kyle, the author of the best-selling book “American Sniper,” for defamation in 2012 after Kyle claimed in his book that he punched Ventura at a California bar. Ventura says the incident never happened, and he’s suing for damages. Kyle, of Texas, was killed last year on a gun range while the lawsuit was pending. His widow, Taya Kyle, is now the central defendant in the case, which goes to trial on Tuesday, July 8, in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)
STARS EARN STRIPES -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Chris Kyle -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2011 file photo, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, left, talks to the media in Minneapolis. Ventura sued Chris Kyle, the author of the best-selling book “American Sniper,” for defamation in 2012 after Kyle claimed in his book that he punched Ventura at a California bar. Ventura says the incident never happened, and he’s suing for damages. Kyle, of Texas, was killed last year on a gun range while the lawsuit was pending. His widow, Taya Kyle, is now the central defendant in the case, which goes to trial on Tuesday, July 8, in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross, File)
Taya Kyle, the widow of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, arrives with her attorneys at the federal courthouse Tuesday, July 8, 2014 in St. Paul, Minn., for the start of a trial in a lawsuit filed by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura against the Kyle estate. Ventura filed the defamation lawsuit claiming that Chris Kyle's account of a bar fight in a book he wrote was false. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
STARS EARN STRIPES -- 'Mission Finale' Episode 106 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chris Kyle, Dean Cain -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
STARS EARN STRIPES -- 'Mission' Episode 105 -- Pictured: (l-r) Grady Powell, Chris Kyle, Eve Torres, Dean Cain -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
STARS EARN STRIPES -- 'Mission' Episode 105 -- Pictured: (l-r) Dean Cain, Eve Torres, Chris Kyle, Grady Powell -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
AMERICAN SNIPER 2014 Warner Bros film with Bradley Cooper
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical action film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Dean Hall. It is based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History and stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller with Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman and Cory Hardrict in supporting roles.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 15: An image is displayed on a big screen onstage of Best Actor nominee Bradley Cooper for his role in the film 'American Sniper' at the 87th Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on January 15, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 15: Directors J.J. Abrams (L) and director Alfonso Cuaron announce the film 'American Sniper' as a nominee for Best Sound Mixing during the 87th Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on January 15, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
Actor Bradley Cooper arrives at the Washington premiere of the movie “American Sniper” at Burke Theatre at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. Cooper played US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in American military history and author of the book “American Sniper," made into a movie with the same title. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical action film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Dean Hall. It is based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History and stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller with Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman and Cory Hardrict in supporting roles.
AMERICAN SNIPER 2014 Warner Bros film with Sienna Miller
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical action film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Dean Hall. It is based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History and stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller with Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman and Cory Hardrict in supporting roles.
A US Marine Special Operations soldier provides security during the construction of a new checkpoint by Afghan and US forces April 3, 2013 in the district of Spin Boldak, Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
Members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team Ten stand at attention during funeral for fellow SEAL Chris Kyle at the Texas State Cemetery
Military veterans hold American flags at funeral of Nay SEAL Chris Kyle in Austin, Texas
Military veterans hold American flags at funeral of Nay SEAL Chris Kyle in Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, USA. 12th February 2013. Funeral procession for former navy Seal Chris Kyle.Atmosphere.George Goodman of DeLand Florida is reflected in the window of an APD cruiser. St.Johns and IH35.02/12/2013.(Credit Image: Jeff Newman/Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy Live News)
FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2011 file photo, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, left, talks to the media in Minneapolis. Ventura sued Chris Kyle, the author of the best-selling book “American Sniper,” for defamation in 2012 after Kyle claimed in his book that he punched Ventura at a California bar. Ventura says the incident never happened, and he’s suing for damages. Kyle, of Texas, was killed last year on a gun range while the lawsuit was pending. His widow, Taya Kyle, is now the central defendant in the case, which goes to trial on Tuesday, July 8, in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2013 file photo Christopher Kyle's wife, Taya, is escorted to her seat after memorializing her husband in Arlington, Texas. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura sued Chris Kyle, the author of the best-selling book “American Sniper,” for defamation in 2012 after Kyle claimed in his book that he punched Ventura at a California bar. Ventura says the incident never happened, and he’s suing for damages. Kyle, of Texas, was killed last year on a gun range while the lawsuit was pending. His widow, Taya Kyle, is now the central defendant in the case, which goes to trial on Tuesday, July 8, in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)
Chad Littlefield's injuries are portrayed in this display during the capital murder trial of former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center in Stephenville Texas, on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Routh, 27, of Lancaster, is charged with the 2013 deaths of Chris Kyle and his friend Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Michael Ainsworth, Pool)
Prosecutors play the tape of the police interview with former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at his capital murder trial at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center on Feb. 16, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Prosecutors play the tape of the police interview with former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at his capital murder trial at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center on Feb. 16, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Prosecutors play the tape of the police interview with former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at his capital murder trial at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center on Feb. 16, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Texas Ranger David Armstrong holds up evidence seized at Eddie Ray Routh's house during the capital murder trial of former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center on Feb. 12, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. Routh, 27, of Lancaster, is charged with the 2013 deaths of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
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STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A judge says he expects to soon have a jury seated for the trial of the man accused of killing a former Navy SEAL depicted in "American Sniper."

Attorneys were meeting Monday afternoon after a day of polling prospective jurors for the trial of Eddie Ray Routh. The former Marine is charged with capital murder in the deaths of 38-year-old Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend, 35-year-old Chad Littlefield.

State District Judge Jason Cashon said he expected to have a jury selected by Monday night.

Routh's trial starts while the movie based on Kyle's memoir remains in theaters and makes millions.

Officials in Erath County have taken extra steps to try to ensure a fair jury. The clerk sent out four times as many summonses as for a regular trial.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of the man accused of fatally shooting a former Navy SEAL depicted in the Oscar-nominated film "American Sniper."

More than a dozen people were dismissed first thing Monday morning in Stephenville, Texas, where former Marine Eddie Ray Routh is charged with capital murder in the deaths of 38-year-old Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend, 35-year-old Chad Littlefield.

A key challenge facing authorities is ensuring a fair trial just as the movie based on Kyle's memoir continues to make millions at the box office.

The county's top prosecutor told prospective jurors Monday that he knew many of them will have seen the movie, which depicts Kyle's stories of serving four tours in Iraq.

"It's hard not to have knowledge of this case," Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash said. "It's pervasive."

Seeing the movie or reading Kyle's book won't be disqualifying on its own, according to both Nash and State District Judge Jason Cashon, who will oversee the trial.

Nash asked potential jurors if they were unable to set aside what they'd already heard about the case. No one among about 130 potential jurors in court raised their hand.

Instead of a typical Erath County jury pool of 175, about 800 jury summonses were sent out, district clerk Wanda Pringle has said. Several hundred people who weren't eliminated due to exemptions or other factors took part in last week's screening. The group was narrowed as potential jurors were dismissed for reasons including some who said pretrial publicity had already led them to a decision in the case.

About 260 potential jurors reported to the courthouse Monday.

Those dismissed right away were by mutual agreement of attorneys, for reasons including illness and answers they gave on a questionnaire last week, Pringle said. About 100 others were told to go home but to check in later to find out if they would be needed Tuesday.

Routh's attorneys plan to pursue an insanity defense. Prosecutors won't seek the death penalty. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

Family members have said Routh, 27, struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the Marines in 2010. The small arms technician served in Iraq and was deployed to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Kyle took Routh to the shooting range after Routh's mother asked if he could help her son.

About two hours after they arrived at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort on Feb. 2, 2013, an employee discovered the bodies of Kyle and Littlefield at the remote range.

In the meantime, authorities say Routh drove to his sister's house in Kyle's truck, telling her and her husband that he'd killed Kyle and Littlefield.

His sister told police that Routh "was out of his mind, saying people were sucking his soul and that he could smell the pigs."

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