Judge denies 'stand your ground' defense in movie theater slaying
Reeves faces second-degree murder and aggravated battery charges.
A retired police captain accused of fatally shooting another moviegoer inside a Florida cinema can't defend himself using the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, a circuit judge ruled Friday.
A judge denied his request to dismiss the charges against him under Florida's Stand Your Ground law.
Judge Susan Barthle ruled Friday that Curtis Reeves, 74, must stand trial in the death of Chad Oulson, 43. Reeves left to report Oulson to theater management, both sides of the case agree. The shooting happened in a movie theater in a suburb north of Tampa in January of 2014, after the two men got into an argument because Oulson was texting his daughter's day care during the movie previews.
Barthle added: "In addition, common sense and the credible testimony of the medical examiner casts grave doubt on the likelihood of anything hitting the defendant in the eye beneath his glasses in the manner the defendant described".
"The logical conclusion is that he was trying to justify his actions after the fact", she said. Curtis Reeves testified in his own behalf, telling his version of the story.
During the hearing, Reeves testified that Oulson had attacked him and he was in fear for his life.
More than 1,100 days have passed since Curtis Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson in a Wesley Chapel movie theater.
Witnesses said during the final exchange of the minutes-long confrontation, the retired officer reached for his handgun and shot Oulson in the chest after the man threw a bag of popcorn in his direction. "He also appeared to be quite self-assured when he was testifying and certainly did not appear to be a man who was afraid of anyone". An instant later, Reeves pulled a gun from his pocket and fired.
If the judge decides to move the case on to a murder trial, the defense will have a chance to challenge the judge's ruling. "But I didn't expect her to be as direct and concrete with her findings", attorney T.J. Grimaldi, who represents Oulson's widow, said. And it could be overturned on appeal.
A trial date has not yet been set.