PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — The high-profile murder trial involving retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves, has been decided by the jury.
Late Friday night, the jury began deliberations and after several hours the jury found Reeves not guilty on all charges.
Reeves, 79, was tried for second-degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in the 2014 shooting of Chad Oulson, 43, in a Wesley Chapel movie theater after an argument over the use of a cell phone.
After eight years, the case was heard by a jury of six people with four alternates. The trial was delayed by legal motions, appeals, and even the pandemic.
Reeves claims he shot Oulson in self-defense after Oulson threw a bag of popcorn and cell phone at him.
Reeves was found not guilty on all charges.
Jury deliberation begins.
The jury was brought back into the courtroom and began receiving their final instructions a few minutes before 5 p.m. Each juror was given a copy of the instructions on all of the primary and secondary charges Reeves faced in the case.
Curtis Reeves was leaning back in his chair at the defense table as he prepared to see the jury for a final time before they render a verdict. The judge said no one may enter or leave the courtroom during jury instructions.
After the recess, Judge Barthle began going through final instructions for the jury with attorneys for both sides just before 4 p.m. Friday.
The defense made a motion for the judge to acquit the defendant. Prosecutors responded there was sufficient evidence, in their opinion, to send the case to the jury. Judge Barthle denied the motion quickly.
Both sides have finished closing arguments. The court is taking a brief recess and will come back with instructions for the jury.
Court resumed with the prosecutor reminding the jury that their verdict should not be influenced by sympathy for either side.
The court took a lunch break and will resume around 3 p.m.
The defense emphasizes that for self-defense to apply, the threat doesn't need to be actual, it just needs to be real enough for a cautious person to perceive it as a threat.
The defense attorney says "you can't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes.
The defense began its closing arguments.
The trial is taking a 10-minute break.
The state presented its closing arguments first. Attorneys painted the case one of a man killed over a popcorn toss. Attorney's said they knew the case was down to the popcorn toss based on witness testimony.
"This case is unfortunately about a man killing another man over a popcorn toss."
Prosecutors said, despite his training and history in de-escalation tactics as a police officer, Reeves instigated the confrontation with Chad Oulson.
The state continued that the shooting came down to anger.
The trial resumed shortly after 8:40 a.m.
The trial is set to resume on Friday after 8:30 a.m. with closing arguments.
- Day 1 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
- Day 2 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
- Day 3 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
- Day 4 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
- Day 5 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
- Day 6 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
- Day 7 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
- Day 8 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
- Day 9 of the Curtis Reeves Trial
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