Pretrial Date Set in Fla. Movie Theater Shooting; Trial Could Start in Early 2015
(TAMPA, Fla.) -- A retired police captain accused in a fatal movie theater shooting appeared in court Wednesday, and expected to learn when he’ll stand trial. The judge, however, set the date for another pretrial hearing to take place Sept. 10 with hopes for the trial to begin in early 2015.
Police say Curtis Reeves, 71, shot and killed Chad Oulson, 43, during a confrontation over Olson’s texting during the previews before a showing of “Lone Survivor” at a Wesley Chapel, Florida, theater.
Attorneys for Oulson’s widow, Nicole, who watched her husband die at her side, say there’s no reason the trial should be delayed.
“We are just delaying the inevitable,” attorney T.J. Grimaldi said. “No matter what occurs, there’s no way, the way we see it, that [Reeves] is going to be found not guilty.”
Reeves became annoyed with Oulson’s using his cellphone and went to tell the movie theater managers, according to authorities.
When he returned, the argument escalated, authorities said.
Reeves, who's in jail after his bail request was denied, is charged with second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty, claiming he acted in self-defense. Reeves’ attorneys say that Oulson may have thrown a cellphone at Reeves.
Witnesses say the only thing Oulson threw was a bag of popcorn.
“He was hit in the face with an unknown object,” attorney Richard Escobar said. “At that point, he has every right to defend himself.”
In audiotapes played by prosecutors in a February bond hearing, Reeves said he regretted the shooting immediately.
"As soon as I pulled the trigger, I said, 'Oh, this is stupid,'" he said in the tape. "There's no justification for what happened in there. If I had to do it over again, it would have never happened. We would have moved."
The shooting has proved especially tragic because of the ramifications. Reeves was a decorated former law-enforcement officer. Oulson left behind a 2-year-old daughter, Alexis.
Alexis misses her father, Grimaldi said.
“She understands daddy isn’t home. She asks for daddy and he doesn’t show up,” Grimaldi said. “It’s almost a good thing that she’s so young, because she doesn’t quite comprehend where daddy is.”
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