A bond hearing for a retired police captain accused of gunning down a fellow moviegoer last month in Florida will resume on Friday, a judge announced Wednesday.
Curtis Reeves, 71, stood before a Dade City judge and the widow of his alleged victim, 43-year-old Chad Oulson, while family and witnesses to the January shooting emotionally testified for and against Reeves’ possible release on second-degree murder.
Police said Reeves became upset when Oulson was texting during the movie previews leading to a verbal argument that tragic day. Witnesses told officers that Oulson threw popcorn at Reeves, authorities have said.
Reeves attorney said his client was defending himself, but prosecutors said Oulson didn’t hit or touch Reeves. If convicted, Reeves could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.
AP PHOTO/BRENDAN FITTERER, POOL
Nicole Oulson, center, reacts as she listens to testimony on Wednesday about her husband Chad’s final moments as he was assisted by a registered nurse after being shot in a movie theater Jan. 13.
Oulson’s wife, who police say was shot in the hand, was in the court Wednesday, but she didn’t speak.
Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa allowed surveillance video capturing the deadly altercation and shooting to be played in court on Wednesday, stating that: “Withholding this video from public view only would only fuel speculation on what is on it.”
A reporter with WTSP who viewed the footage described it as “dark, grainy” and having no volume.
AP PHOTO/BRENDAN FITTERER, POOL
At right is Reeves’ attorney Richard Escobar. Reeves, 71, is accused of fatally shooting Chad Oulson and injuring Oulson’s wife. He is charged with second-degree murder in killing Chad Oulson. Police said Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, became upset when Oulson was texting during the movie previews.
An external hard drive containing hours of surveillance video was physically handed over to defense attorneys Tuesday during a hearing regarding the video evidence showing the January shooting.
Defense attorneys for Reeves had asked for a 60-day hold on releasing evidence to the public including police reports and witness statements. Siracusa agreed to a 30-day hold on the evidence, excluding the video.
Reeves sat quietly at the defense table, flanked by two of his attorneys. He wore khaki pants, a white shirt and a burgundy sweater vest. He was not shackled and had the least restrictive constraints the court allows for a defendant — something a Pasco County sheriff’s deputy told the judge his agency disagreed with.
Reeves’ attorney Richard Escobar had called four character witnesses as of early afternoon. All said Reeves was a competent police officer who rarely, if ever, became angry.
The former Tampa police captain is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a man before a movie at the Cobb Grove 16 theater in Wesley Chapel, Fla. in January.
Reeves’ daughter, Jennifer Shaw, tearfully testified about how her father played with her 2-year-old daughter. Shaw said she lived with her father and mother — who have been married for 46 years — because she is going through a divorce.
She said Reeves was the first person she called about the divorce.
“I kind of expected him to try to take charge of the situation, but he didn’t,” she said.
Reeves’ daughter testified Wedneday in her father’s bond hearing. She told a court that her family was willing to put their home up as collateral for his bond.
Shaw told the court that she and her family are prepared to put the Reeves’ home up as collateral for the bond. It’s worth about $186,000, Shaw said. She also said the family has access to a $30,000 home equity line and about $22,000 in cash.
Shaw also said all of the guns owned by her father have been taken out of his house by his son, who is a Tampa police officer.
Reeves’ friends said he wouldn’t pose a risk to the community if he was released.
“There’s nothing in my affiliation with him that would lead me to believe that he’s a danger,” said Thomas DePolis, who worked with Reeves to set up a SWAT team at the Tampa Police department.
Reeves previously appeared via video conference on January 14 in what appeared to be a suicide vest.
Another witness, Margaret Scalise, said her husband worked with Reeves when he was security director at the Busch Gardens theme park. The Scalises and the Reeves traveled frequently together.
“He’s a very honest and honorable man,” Scalise said.
Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia said he will call four witnesses who saw the shooting. None of them, Garcia said, saw Oulson hit, strike or touch Reeves — but they did see him become more agitated that afternoon.
The judge also ruled on two open records motions. The judge will allow surveillance video from the theater to be shown in court Wednesday. He also ruled that all discovery evidence will be sealed from the public for 30 days so Reeves’ attorneys can review it and perhaps challenge all or parts of its release to the public.
With News Wire Services
5 thoughts on “Florida judge considering bail for retired police officer accused in deadly movie theater shooting”
The jury is still out on this one. It may be another hoax to try to justify TSA at movie theaters in the future.
This is nothing short of COLD BLOODED MURDER. This piece of trash should never see the light of day for ever. The only reason they are doing this is the fact that he is an ex cop, wrong ex member of the Gestapo
Just my opinion, but I believe this guy was still feeding on the power he had as a cop. He wanted to assert his power over this “young punk, who wouldn’t do as he was told”. If he was still a cop, it would be deemed justified in the line of duty because he feared for his life. He committed cold blooded murder of a husband and father over nothing. I think public hanging is in order here.
I think that you nailed it completely. Other people have been interviewed that said the same pig had hassled them at the same place before this shooting occurred. Once a pig always a pig is a great way to look at it and you can bet if he were a re pig this wouldn’t even be discussed.It would be deemed justified and a good shoot!. And to think this guy set up the first SWAT team for the area should make everyone say WTF!
Yea, right, ” he`s a very honest and honorable man ” Scalise said. Yea right. He IS a murderer and that is all that pig is – once a cop, always a cop simple as that!!!, period. Lock him up for life as the death penalty would be too good for him. Yea, and his son is a cop too? ok now then, guess we know what kind of family that is right? Like father like son as it looks so far. Bread and water for that pig for the rest of his miserable worthless life. No bail either. He doesn`t deserve to be out. Like the rest of us – guilty till prouven innocent and this cop is guilty as guilty can be. This ex? cop murdered a guy and this guy had a family even. GRRR 👿 😎