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Date Set for "Stand Your Ground" Movie Theater Murder Trial

gun-780082_640.jpg The retired Tampa police captain who fatally shot another man in a Wesley Chapel movie theater in 2014 will stand trial on second-degree murder charges early next year.

Curtis Judson Reeves stands accused of murder after shooting Chad Wayne Oulson on January 13, 2014 in a theater after an argument regarding Oulson's use of a cell phone while movie previews were showing. Prosecutors say Oulson hurled a bag of popcorn at Reeves who, in turn, mortally wounded the 43-year-old father with his .380 semi-automatic handgun.

The major controversy in the case revolves around the state's new "stand your ground" law, which says an individual doesn't have a duty to retreat in the face of anticipated violent force before employing violent force in response. An appeals court previously ruled that the defense was not available to Reeves, but a change in the law since the ruling has muddied the waters.

Reeves's defense team believes that the trial should be postponed until the Florida Supreme Court reviews the new law and issues an opinion, but prosecutors argued that a four-year delay is already too long.

While recognizing that an opinion from the Florida Supreme Court may still be needed in the case, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Susan Barthle sided with prosecutors, ruling that the case is finally ready for a trial on its merits.

The 75-year-old Reeves was not in attendance last week. He remains free after having posted a bond.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.

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  • norml
  • National association of criminal defense lawyers
  • Clearwater bar association
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

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