There is no dispute that a retired police captain shot and killed a finance manager during a movie theater argument, but jurors will decide if it was self-defense. Curtis Reeves, 79, stands trial for allegedly murdering Chad Oulson, 43, in 2014. You can watch in the player above.
Reeves was sitting behind Oulson in a movie theater on Jan. 13, 2014, in Pasco County, Florida, and complained about the man texting during previews for the film Lone Survivor. Oulson, a U.S. Navy veteran and the father of a 2-year-old girl, told Reeves he was communicating with his daughter’s babysitter. Reeves, a retired captain for the Tampa Police Department, asked for a manager to intervene. He returned to the theater and argued with Oulson. Oulson allegedly threw popcorn at him, and the retired police captain shot and killed him. This round also grazed the hand of Chad’s widow Nicole Oulson.
Reeves maintained self-defense, that Oulson was coming over the seats to punch him. His attorneys unsuccessfully pushed for the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to apply.
“Did you want to shoot him?” Reeves’ attorney asked in a 2017 hearing.
“So why did you shoot?” the attorney said.
“Well, at that point it was his life or mine,” Reeves said.
When asked if he felt Oulson was going to hurt him, Reeves affirmed, fighting back tears, “No question.”
Nicole Oulson testified that Reeves instigated this fatal confrontation. For example, she said Reeves kept needling Oulson after returning from trying to get a manager, and he said something to the effect of, “I see that you put the phone away now that I went to get management.”
“It was not a polite, ‘Oh, thank you for putting it away,'” Oulson said, according to The Tampa Bay Times. “It was to keep nagging at Chad . . . to keep the argument going.”
Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
[Booking photo via Pasco County Jail]
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