DADE CITY, Fla. — More than four years after an argument over texting ended with Curtis Reeves shooting and killing Chad Oulson, there is now a trial date.
“It’s time. It needs to be on the trial calendar. I know it’s a huge undertaking. All the more reason why I want to get it set,” said Judge Susan Barthle.
The judge penciled in three weeks beginning February 25 of next year.
“There’s no reason why it’s lasted this long. I think we are both happy and proud that there’s an actual trial date, other than the ones that were actually set years ago at this point,” said T.J. Grimaldi, attorney for Oulson’s widow, Nicole.
Reeve’s attorney says the retired police captain, who wasn't in court for Tuesday’s hearing, is anxious for this trial to finally happen too.
“This isn’t a situation where he’s sitting back wiping his brow, 'thank goodness this thing isn’t going.' This is a guy who is wanting to go, can’t understand why it’s taking so long,” said defense attorney Dino Michaels.
But Reeves attorneys were actually hoping for more time as they wait for the Florida Supreme Court to rule on whether a change to the stand your ground law might help their client.
In the past, the defense had to prove stand your ground applied.
Now after the law change, that burden of proof is on the state.
Judge Barthle already decided last year, stand your ground doesn’t apply, despite Reeves’s claim that he shot Olson because he feared for his life.
“We have to do everything in a case like this. We have to leave no stone unturned. So these things are going to take longer than a case where some guy is accused of possessing 20 grams of marijuana” said Michaels.