A psychiatrist told a Texas court on Thursday that the man accused of murdering U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle had paranoid schizophrenia and showed signs of psychosis that could not be faked, media reports said.
Eddie Ray Routh, 27, has been charged with killing Kyle, whose autobiography was turned into the hit movie "American Sniper," and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Fort Worth in February 2013.
Dr. Mitchell Dunn, a forensic psychiatrist who spent more than six hours interviewing Routh and was called by the defense, testified Routh believed that Kyle and Littlefield were going to kill him, the Dallas Morning News reported from the court in Stephenville.
"He thought he was going to die if he didn't take care of business and kill them first," the paper quoted Dunn as saying.
Routh also believed two of his coworkers were cannibals and were going to harm him, Dunn was quoted as saying.
Routh, who served with the U.S. Marines in Iraq and Haiti, had been admitted to VA hospitals several times and diagnosed as psychotic, his lawyers told the court. They are seeking to have him declared innocent by reason of insanity.
Prosecutors have said Routh knew what he was doing when he fatally shot Kyle and Littlefield several times and then fled the scene in Kyle's pickup truck.
They are seeking a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The trial has focused renewed attention on Kyle, who is considered by many in his home state of Texas as a hero, and on the movie "American Sniper," which has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture.
The defense rested its case on Thursday, without calling Routh to the stand. Prosecutors are expected to call rebuttal witnesses on Friday.