The 71-year-old retired police captain who shot and killed another man after the two got into an argument at a Florida movie theater over texting may use the "Stand Your Ground" defense in court. According to the New York Times, Curtis Reeves Jr.'s laywer, Richard Escobar, has said that his client—who is charged with second-degree murder for the death of 43-year-old US Navy veteran Chad Oulson—acted in self defense, not with malicious intent, because he was "in fear of being attacked." Witness accounts of Reeves and Oulson's argument have reported that Reeves asked Oulson to stop texting during the promos for a movie, and when Oulson refused and threw popcorn at Reeves, Reeves pulled out his gun and shot Oulson. Oulson's wife, who was sitting next to him, was injured as well.
Escobar claims, however, that something other than popcorn was tossed at Reeves, illiciting the deadly force. Because of this, Escobar says that Reeves is likely to use the "Stand Your Ground" defense in court, which is the same defense that George Zimmerman used during his trial for the killing of teen Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was acquitted of the charges under the defense.
In response, Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara, has spoken out about Reeves' plans, stating that in this case it would be difficult to find a way to use the "Stand Your Ground" defense. From the New York Times:
“A felony in and of itself does not justify deadly force,” said Mark O’Mara, who successfully defended Mr. Zimmerman at his trial this summer. “I would call that a Hail Mary pass.”
The use of deadly force is justified only if the fear of bodily harm is reasonable and if the felony is dangerous, regardless of the shooter’s age, Mr. O’Mara said.
Oulson's wife Nicole, who survived the shooting, made her first statement to reporters today about the shooting that took her husband's life:
"Right now, I'm just still trying to recover from the shock," Oulson said. "Me and my husband didn't get a date night very often, much less a whole day to spend together, so I was just so excited and looking forward to spending the day with the love of my life," she said.
Oulson's statement was brief and tearful. "Just to think that in the blink of an eye, my whole world just got shattered into a million pieces and now I'm left trying to pick them up and put them all back together," she said. "It's just so hard and so unbearable."
Reeves is currently being held without bond, with another bond hearing set for Feb. 5.
[via NY Times]