‘Stand your ground’ defense rejected in Florida theater-shooting case

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A retired Florida police captain who is accused of shooting and killing another man during an argument over texting in a movie theatre will face a trial after a magistrate rejected his stand your ground defense.

Judge Susan Barthle ruled Friday the stand your ground law in Florida does not apply in the case of Curtis Reeves because he was not in any imminent danger of demise where reference is shot 43 -year-old Chad Oulson before a January 2014 movie screening, FOX 13 reported.


The physical proof contradicts the defendants version of events, Barthle wrote in her ruling.

The ruling clears the route for Reeves to face jury trial and a second-degree murder charge.


According to FOX 13, Reeves, then 71 years old, had gone to a Wesley Chapel, Florida movie theater for a matinee screening of Lone Survivor. According to the retired police captain, Oulson hurled popcorn at him and hit him in the head with a cell phone.

The argument, which started because Oulson was texting his daughters day care during previews, escalated and ended with Reeves shooting and killing Oulson.

I realise I was in a life-or-death conflict. He was no longer a loudmouth. He was a definite menace, Reeves testified last week in a two-week hearing. He was reaching for me. He was getting ready to punch me. I perceived that. Thats when the pistol “re coming out” . … At that phase, it was his life or mine.

He claimed he was protected by the stand your ground law in Florida which permits citizens to use lethal force-out if they feel they are in imminent danger of death or significant harm.

Prosecutors dispute Reeves claims and Oulsons wife said it was a rude Reeves who escalated the disagreement. Witnesses claimed to hear Reeves mutter something like, Throw popcorn at me, will you? before pulling the trigger, FOX 13 reported.

In her ruling, Barthle said the evidence proved another story then what Reeves testified.

For instance, the defendant testified that he was hit in the outside corner of his left eye with a cell phone or a fist, she wrote. The video evidence contradicts this assertion, clearly showing that there was no hitting from a fist, and the item argued by the defense to be a cell phone was simply a reflection from the defendants shoes.

Barthle added: In addition, common sense and the believable evidence of the medical examiner castings grave doubt on the possibilities of anything reaching the defendant in the eye beneath his glass in the manner the defendant described. Which begs the issues to, why did the defendant say he was hit in the left eye, to the point of being dazed, when the video images and basic physics indicate that he did not get hit in the left eye with anything? The logical conclusion is that he was trying to justify his actions after the fact.

Reeves has been on house arrest since his 2014 release from jail. It was not immediately clear when the trial actually might start.

Click here for more news from Fox 13.

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