Curtis Reeves- Stand Your Ground Hearing
Hat tip to Yahtzeebutterfly for keeping up with this case.
Florida’s controversial stand your ground law came upfront when 17-year old, unarmed Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012. The law allows people to use deadly force when they fear death or great bodily harm. Stand your ground, if granted, gives the defendant immunity from being placed on trial for the results of using deadly force. If the person who used deadly force was the initiator, they might not qualify for immunity under stand your ground.
That is part of the controversy with stand your ground law. It depends on perception, and when the person is dead, they cannot testify of their perception.
You might have heard of the “popcorn murder.” It is the Reeves’ case. In January 2014, 71-year old Curtis Reeves shot Chad Oulson (43) to death in a movie theater over texting. Reeves also wounded Oulson’s wife. Reeves is charged with second degree murder and he claims self-defense, alleging that Chad hit him with something so hard that it knocked his glasses off his face.
Reeves’ defense is that at 71, and having health problems, he felt threatened enough to use deadly force when Chad threw a box of popcorn at him. His stand your ground hearing started yesterday. The prosecutor said the 74-year-old Reeves provoked the confrontation. Reeves’ attorneys said Oulson’s actions made him think he was in danger of serious assault.
Pinellas-Pasco County Florida Circuit Judge Susan Barthle is hearing evidence. There is no jury. Judge Barthle will determine if Reeves should be immune from prosecution or stand trial for second-degree murder.
Assistant State Attorney Glenn Martin, in his opening statement, argued that video from the theater shows Reeves leaning forward, entering Oulson’s space for “nonconsensual contact” three separate times. It also shows Oulson backing away from Reeves after throwing the popcorn.
“Once the popcorn is tossed, it is over,” Martin said. “You can’t prevent that by shooting Mr. Oulson. “His conduct is nothing but retaliation for a former police officer who is used to having people do what he says.”
In January 2016, Chad Oulson’s wife, Nicole, filed a civil suit against the theater.
The court has set aside two weeks for the hearing. Courtchatter is livestreaming the hearing.
Below is the video playlist.