As the trial against Curtis Reeves enters its third week, many witnesses have already taken the stand to share what they saw on the day Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson in a Pasco County movie theater.
There is no denying that Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, is the person who shot Oulson in the chest, fatally wounding him and injuring Oulson’s wife who was standing next to him. All witnesses agree on this fact. The differences come in the depiction of what led up to the shooting.
Theater Witnesses Share Their Stories
The prosecution called witnesses to share their experience of the day the shooting occurred, which was more than eight years ago.
In most cases, the witnesses shared the same story. They saw Curtis Reeves and Chad Oulson exchange words. They saw Oulson stand up and turn around to face Reeves, who was sitting in the row behind the Oulsons. Then, they heard a loud bang.
Some recalled seeing popcorn fly in the air before the bang. But, witnesses also testified that they didn’t see Oulson raise a fist, throw his phone, or attempt to hit Reeves.
Reeves’ defense team argues that Reeves shot Oulson because he feared for his life. They said Oulson threw his phone at Reeves and appeared ready to hit Reeves. But even as Reeves’ own wife took the stand, she said she didn’t see a punch or a cell phone thrown.
Shooter’s Family Takes the Stand
On Monday, February 21, 2022, Curtis Reeves’ wife, Vivian Reeves took the stand to share what she saw while sitting next to her husband in the movie theater that day.
Her story aligns with much of what other witnesses from the theater said. There was an altercation. Oulson stood up, turned around to face Curtis Reeves, and was shot.
Vivian Reeves’ story does include more detail about what she heard from Oulson. She said she heard Oulson use “foul and ugly language” when Curtis Reeves asked him to turn off his phone. The incident began when Curtis Reeves told Oulson to stop using his phone. Oulson was texting his daughter’s child care to check on her as the movie previews played.
Vivian Reeves says she was “terrified” during the encounter, but she says she didn’t see Oulson attempt to punch her husband or throw a phone at him.
Vivian Reeves’ testimony comes after Reeves’ two adult children took the stand last week.
Matthew Reeves, Reeves’ son who is also a police officer, was at the scene moments after his father shot Oulson. He was meeting his parents for the midday movie. He walked in during the middle of the confrontation and heard the gunshot. He testified that he moved to Oulson and immediately began to put pressure on his wound.
Reeves’ daughter, Jennifer Shaw, also took the stand. Shaw wasn’t there on the day of the shooting, but she testified that her father had begun to slow down as he experienced health issues leading up to the shooting. Her testimony seemed to be designed to paint Curtis Reeves as weakening as he aged, although Reeves had been on a hunting trip just days before the shooting.
Seeking Justice for the Oulson Family
TJ Grimaldi has been standing with Chad Oulson’s wife, Nicole, throughout the trial and the last eight years leading up to the state’s prosecution of Curtis Reeves.
He recently spoke with Morning in America about his views on the trial so far and what he hopes to see as a just outcome for the Oulson family.
Grimaldi says that due to Curtis Reeves’ experience as a chief of police, he should have been able to manage the argument with Oulson without it resulting in a shooting.
“He should know how to deescalate a situation instead of making one worse,” Grimaldi says.
Grimaldi is also frustrated the case took so long to make it to trial. “The defense team from day one realized that any time in prison was basically a life sentence or death sentence for this gentleman because of his age. They’ve done everything in their power to delay this case from day one,’ he says.
Now, Grimaldi hopes and believes the jury will get the verdict right. In fact, he thinks the jury must get it right, not just for the Oulson family but for society as a whole.
When considering if the case could end in a not guilty verdict, Grimaldi said, “They have to make sure they get this right. It could set some very terrible precedent.”
What’s Next for the Reeves Case?
The trial of Curtis Reeves is expected to last another week. It is unclear at this time if Reeves will take the stand. Reeves is facing charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder. If he is found guilty on both charges, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.
If you or someone you know is involved in a legal matter, contact the offices of TJ Grimaldi. Talk directly with TJ about how he and his team can help you get the justice you deserve. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023 today.