Curtis Reeves back 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
and last updated 2017-02-21 07:21:09-05

After 3 years, the "stand your ground" hearing started on Monday morning 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.

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.

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 2013 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.