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Curtis Reeves in court for 'stand your ground' hearing in Florida theater shooting

The hearing is expected to last at least a week
Posted at 4:41 AM, Feb 20, 2017
Detective Aaron Smith took the stand Monday morning during the Curtis Reeves' 'Stand Your Ground' hearing in Pasco County.
 
Reeves' attorney continue to try and convince a judge this case falls under Florida's Stand Your Grand law.
 
The defense is trying to discredit how the Pasco Sheriff's Office handled the investigation.
 
They are also talking more about the cell phone found on the theater floor.
 
That phone belonged to Chad Oulson. The defense contends Oulson threw it at Reeves' head and could have caused a serious injury.

Curtis Reeves himself is expected to take the stand on Tuesday.

 

TRIAL COVERAGE >> DAY 5 | DAY 4 | DAY 3 | DAY 2 | DAY 1

 

CASE BACKGROUND

After 3 years, the "stand your ground" hearing started on Monday for the former Tampa police captain charged with murder.  Curtis Reeves is charged with shooting and killing a man at a Pasco movie theater.

The outcome of this hearing will determine whether or not Reeves stands trial for murder. There's also the chance he could be cleared completely. He's maintained for years that he acted in self-defense.

MORE BACKGROUND.

DAY FIVE | Friday, February 24

The judge in the controversial "stand your ground" hearing visited the Cobb theater where the shooting occurred in January of 2014.

The media was allowed in to observe and take notes during the visit. 

ABC Action News reporter Erik Waxler was allowed inside the theater to observe. 

Florida movie theater 'stand your ground' hearing

PHOTOS | "Stand your ground" hearing photo gallery

A pool photographer shared an image of the Judge sitting in the exact seat Curtis Reeves was sitting in, in the theater in 2014. 

Click here for more on Day Five.

 

PREVIOUS HEADLINES

 

DAY FOUR | Thursday, February 23

Nicole Oulson, the widow of the Chad Oulson who was shot and killed in an argument over texting, was on the witness stand for the first time Thursday.

Attorneys asked Oulson about every moment leading to her husband’s death. From seemingly meaningless things like what kind of snacks they got to whether or not the armrest was up between them. But the focus was on what happened when Curtis Reeves sat down behind them.

She said he “rudely” told her husband to put his cell phone away.

“It wasn’t a friendly ask, please or can you? Do you mind? It was just turn your phone off or put that phone away. Very demanding and very abrupt,” she said.

She said her husband was annoyed, asking Reeves, “What your problem? I’ll be done soon.”

Reeves then went to complain. When he came back, she said he seemed to gloat, saying, “I see that you put your phone away now that I went to get management.”

“I remember feeling this should have been over, he got what he wanted why is he still doing the ha, ha, you did what I told you. I won. That’s kind of how it felt to me,” she said.

That’s when she says the argument really escalates.

“I noticed Chad stand up and it drew my attention. I thought this is so silly at this point that this has gotten to this point where these two men are going to start bickering and causing a commotion and drawing attention of other patrons,” said Oulson.

The defense played surveillance video. A loop that they said shows Oulson throwing his cell phone at Reeves.

“You don’t see your husband reach over to Mr. Reeves," an attorney asked Oulson.

“No,” she said.

"And you don’t see your husband reach a second time to Mr. Reeves anytime?"

“No.”

Nicole said she stood up and tried to tap her husband to stop the argument, but that’s when Reeves fired his gun. The same bullet hitting her finger before entering her husband’s chest.

Reeves should take the stand next week.

Friday, the judge and attorneys will go inside theater ten where the incident happened. The previews will be running with only ambient light to try and recreate what it was like when the shooting happened.

Reeves will not attend. And theater management is not allowing the media or public inside during the visit.

DAY THREE | Wednesday, February 22

It was supposed to be an afternoon at the movies. Vivian Reeves and her husband, Curtis, seeing a matinee of Lone Survivor. Their adult son was about to meet them. But Vivian Reeves said Wednesday, when the yelling started in that theater, she’s never been so scared in all her life.

Vivian Reeves says inside theater 10 she noticed Chad Oulson in the seat in front of her using his cell phone. Once the previews started, she saw her husband lean forward and say something to him. She said Oulson barked back.

“He used the word f*** or f******. He was very loud.”

She said Reeves, a former police captain, wouldn’t let Oulson’s behavior go.

“He started to stand and he said I'm going to go get the manager and I said lets just move, he just continued on.”

When Reeves came back from talking to the manager he sat down, and took his popcorn back. But his wife said the argument with Oulson continued and Oulson went crazy.

“What did Mr. Oulson say,” the defense attorney asked.

“*You told on me? Who the f*** do you think you are?”

She said Oulson stood up, leaned forward and she thought he was coming over the seats. She said she turned away and didn’t see Oulson throw popcorn or Reeves shoot.

“I just didn’t know what happened. I couldn’t handle what happened”

Reeves said her husband told her Oulson hit him in the face. The defense contends Oulson threw his cell phone at Reeves. That phone was found on the floor by Reeves’ seat.

Meanwhile as Oulson lay dying, an off duty deputy who happened to be in the theater, took Reeves’ gun.

“I said what happened, you can’t shoot in a theater full of people. Something like that. And he said not now.”

Vivian Reeves said she thought about leaving when Curtis went to talk to manager, but didn't.

Reeves testimony Wednesday is part of a ‘stand your ground’ hearing that could clear Curtis Reeves of murder charges.

Curtis Reeves himself is also expected to take the stand in this hearing.

DAY TWO | Tuesday, February 21

An expert showed surveillance video from the Cobb Theater in Wesley Chapel on January 13th of 2014 in court on Tuesday.

Retired FBI Agent Bruce Koenig, who specializes in analyzing video, enhanced some of the video for the defense.

It’s day two of a hearing where a judge will rule if the shooting death of a Pasco County man falls under Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.

In the video Curtis Reeves and his wife Vivian are seen buying tickets to see the movie Lone Survivor. Then the couple goes into the theater. Inside the theater it's dark and Chad Oulson and his wife are out of the frame. During the previews, Reeves goes back to the lobby to complain about Oulson texting. When he returns, the confrontation turns violent.

The defense said this enhanced video shows Oulson throwing what they say is his cell phone at Reeves head. They say the object in the red circle is that phone.

Then in another enhanced video clip, it’s the moment where Oulson appears to grab Reeves popcorn and throw it back at him. An instant later, Reeves raises his gun and fires.

The defense showed that sequence over and over in a loop.

Earlier Tuesday a witness who was there told the judge she never saw Oulson throw any punches, but did see the chaos.

“I see popcorn flying over. I see popcorn landing on Mr. Reeves stomach. I see the ring of fire,” said Joanna Turner.

Reeves’ wife is supposed to be among the next witnesses to testify.

She’s said in the past she didn’t see the shooting because she turned away.

DAY ONE | Monday, February 20

 

Curtis Reeves’ two children both took the stand Monday as the first witnesses in a “stand your ground” hearing.

A Pasco County judge will decide if Reeves’ can use the “stand your ground” law to be immune from prosecution in the 2014 shooting death of Chad Oulson.

Reeves’ daughter, Jennifer Shaw talked about her father’s failing heath. She said he has trouble tying his shoes and picking up his granddaughter.

Prosecutors countered, asking Shaw about Reeves’ visits to shoot sporting clays.

She said he was able to walk the course, climb stairs and handle the shotgun without help.

Shaw also painted a picture of her father as a caring father who didn’t lose his temper, despite his career as a Tampa Police Captain.

Reeves’ son, Matthew also took the stand. He was in the theater walking up the stairs to meet his parents when the shot went off.

He talked about helping Oulson until a nurse in the theater took over.

The defense also hopes to create doubt in this case with claims the Pasco Sheriff’s Office didn’t tell witnesses not to talk to each other before they gave statements at the theater.

 

BACKGROUND CONTINUED

Former Tampa police captain, Curtis Reeves is accused of fatally shooting Chad Oulson after the two got into an argument at a Wesley Chapel movie theater.

Reeves is invoking Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.  The law allows people to use deadly force when they fear death or great bodily harm.

Investigators say Reeves and Oulson argued after the former officer asked Oulson to stop texting in the theater.

Reeves eventually pulled a gun and shot Oulson in the chest. Oulson's wife Nicole was also hit.

ABC Action News legal analyst, Jeff Swartz, provided us with expert insight into evidence set to be considered.

"The main argument that the state is going to make is popcorn is not a deadly weapon therefore he did not have the right to use deadly force. The claim of the defense is that Mr. Oulson was commuting a felony against Mr. Reeves by abuse of the elderly when he threw his cell phone at Mr. Reeves," said Swartz.

 

 

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