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Jury in Curtis Reeves trial will have 6 jurors instead of 12

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 06:13:25-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Thursday, the jurors were finally chosen after three straight days of selection in the Curtis Reeves trial. When you see the final makeup of the jury, you might be surprised.

During voir dire, dozens of potential jurors have been brought in and asked what they remember about the Wesley Chapel movie theater shooting from 2014. The jury has been seated. There are six jurors instead of the typical 12.

ABC Action News spoke with our legal expert attorney Jeff Swartz who explained the Florida law when it comes to a suspect being charged with second-degree murder.


“He is charged with a crime that is not a capital crime. And we (Florida) only give 12 jurors to people who are charged with capital offenses like first-degree murder, and rape of a child under the age of 12 years old,” explained Swartz.

There will also be only four alternate jurors for this case instead of two. Swartz said that is because this trial is expected to last three weeks and they may need more alternates to replace the jurors due to illness or scheduling issues.

Reeves is now 79 years old and has spent much of the past eight years under house arrest.

In 2014, Reeves got into an argument with Chad Oulson inside a movie theater during the previews. Reeves, a retired Tampa Police Captain, shot and killed Oulson.

Reeve's defense attorney said Oulson threw his cellphone and popcorn at Reeves and felt his life was in danger.

Swartz does not believe this case is a slam dunk for prosecutors.

"So it became difficult to find people who had not formulated an opinion. One prospective juror said I don’t understand why he didn’t just move his seat, why did he have to shoot the guy?" said Swartz.

Opening statements are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Monday, February 14.