Eight years after Curtis Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson in front of multiple witnesses in a Florida movie theater, the case is finally going to trial. After years of delays, Oulson‘s family will finally get their day in court, and TJ Grimaldi is determined to help them seek justice.
What Happened in the Florida Movie Theater?
In 2014, Chad Oulson and his wife Nicole didn’t expect their lives to change when they went to a Pasco County movie theater for an afternoon date away from their young daughter. They thought they were going to a movie, but they didn’t even see the start of the show.
During the previews, Chad Oulson checked his phone to see if he had any messages from the daycare that was watching his daughter, who was 22-months-old at the time. She had been teething, and he wanted to make sure everything was okay. Oulson’s activity angered Reeves who was sitting behind Oulson.
Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, started an altercation with Oulson, pulled out his gun, and fired one shot, killing Oulson in front of his wife and a movie theater filled with eye witnesses. Nicole was also injured during the incident.
Eight Long Years Later
Over eight years, Reeve’s legal team has used tactic after tactic to delay the case making it to trial.
Dragging out the case has been a major delay of justice for Oulson‘s family who have been waiting for the trial to begin. In that time, Reeves has been able to avoid jail time and instead, spend time at home with his family.
Reeves’ legal team spent years arguing that the case fell under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. Changes to the law led to multiple hearings and eventually, a Florida Supreme Court decision. But, after Reeve’s team lost their case, the trial for the shooting was finally scheduled for February 2022.
Now, it finally looks like the trial is finally going to happen. On Thursday, January 13th, a judge moved the case forward with plans to start the trial on February 7th.
TJ Grimaldi has represented Oulson‘s widow, Nicole, since Chad’s death in 2014, and he sees the trial as long overdue.
“During the past eight years, Ms. Oulson has had to learn how to be a single mother and mourn the death of her husband, all while Curtis Reeves was unnecessarily delaying the defense of his case while still being able to be at home and spend time with his family. Hopefully, we are that much closer to finally seeing this murderer behind bars,” says Grimaldi.
Related: 7 Years Later, Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case Still Waiting for Trial
Getting Justice for Chad Oulson
During a status check that took place on Thursday, the judge on the case, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Susan Barthle, seemed eager to bring the case to trial.
Barthle set actions to keep the trial on track to start on February 7th. She scheduled hearings to resolve 19 outstanding motions, leaving just one motion to be discussed at a later date.
The judge also set parameters for the jury. Two hundred and fifty East Pasco residents will be summoned. Barthle is also planning to avoid delays caused by a rise in COVID-19 cases. The judge plans to have four alternatives for the jury to ensure the case can move forward without delays.
As the case moves closer to trial, Grimaldi will be working closely with the Oulson family to ensure that justice is found for Chad.
“I hope this time is different. The defense does everything they can to cause delay after delay. They know that each day the case isn’t tried and that Reeves is out of jail is a win for them,” says Grimaldi.
“It has been a long time coming to try and get justice for the murder of Chad Oulson and the significant injury to Nicole Oulson,” says Grimaldi. “But we think it’s finally time.”
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