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Retired Police Captain To Stand Trial For Killing Man In Cinema

Jess Hardiman

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| Last updated 

Retired Police Captain To Stand Trial For Killing Man In Cinema

A retired Florida police captain has gone on trial for murder – eight years after fatally shooting a cinemagoer following a dispute over mobile phone usage in the movie theatre. 

Curtis Reeves, 79, killed Chad Oulson, 43, at a cinema in Wesley Chapel, Pasco County, having become involved in an altercation while watching Lone Survivor. 

Prosecutors said Oulson and his wife had been sitting a row ahead of Reeves and his wife on 13 January 2014. 

Reeves then got into an argument with Oulson, who was texting during the film’s previews – with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office saying he had been messaging his daughter’s babysitter – and left to complain about the incident to staff. 

However, when he returned, things escalated when Oulson threw popcorn at Reeves, who went on to pull out a .380-caliber handgun and shoot him. 

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Oulson’s wife Nicole was also struck in the hand by the bullet. 

Reeves claimed he feared for his life, and sought protection under the state’s controversial ‘stand your ground’ law, but was denied by a judge, who argued that the doctrine did not apply in this case – in turn taking it to trial. 

The former police captain was initially held without bond, but was freed on $150,000 bond in July 2014, with the conditions being that he had to remain under house arrest with a GPS monitor, only permitted to leave to attend church, court, medical appointments or to shop for groceries. 

The case was delayed not only by subsequent legal arguments, but also the Covid-19 pandemic.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Opening statements in the trial were presented before a jury of six earlier today (Monday 14 February), with TJ Grimaldi, attorney for Oulson’s wife, saying in a statement: “The eight-year delay is, in my opinion, embarrassing and only benefited Curtis Reeves as it allowed him to contribute to be at home with his loved ones and spend time with his family. 

“All [this] while Ms Oulson was stuck waiting for delay after delay to be resolved.” 

Grimaldi also told CNN that Nicole would tell her story to the jury. 

He said: “While going through a trial forces her to relive this situation, that she would rather forget, she can’t wait for the day that justice is served – Curtis Reeves is found guilty and spends the rest of his natural life in prison paying for his crimes.” 

Reeves has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated battery, with his lawyers due to argue that he felt threatened by Oulson. 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: US News

Jess Hardiman
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