Sci-tech

Florida judge rejects 'stand your ground' argument in theater shooting

Florida judge rejects 'stand your ground' argument in theater shooting

"A Florida judge Friday denied a "'stand your ground" defense for a retired Florida police officer who fatally shot a man in a movie theater over texting.

Judge Susan Barthle ruled Friday the "stand your ground" law in Florida does not apply in the case of Curtis Reeves because he was not in any imminent danger of death when he shot 43-year-old Chad Oulson before a January 2014 movie screening, FOX 13 reported.

During the recent two-week hearing, Reeves' defense claimed that Reeves feared that Oulson was about to punch him and that the defendant feared serious injury. "In seeking to have the charges dismissed under Stand Your Ground", Reeves's lawyers needed to show that Reeves reasonably believed that using deadly force was necessary "to prevent death or great bodily harm".

During a court hearing last month, Vivian backed her husband up by testifying she was "horrified" and "scared" because of how Oulson was behaving. The defense has said Oulson stood to confront Reeves. Barthle's ruling was based on physical evidence that included surveillance video of the incident, according to the Tampa Bay Times. For instance, the defendant testified that he was hit in the outside corner of his left eye with a cell phone or a fist.


Video evidence shows the victim threw a bag of popcorn at the older man's face and that is when Reeves pulled out a gun and shot Oulson in the chest. Reeves is charged with second degree murder for killing Chad Oulson during an altercation that began when Reeves complained that Oulson was texting during previews.

"The logical conclusion is that he was trying to justify his actions after the fact", she said. In her order, Barthle said Reeves' "testimony was significantly at odds with the physical evidence and other witness testimony". "He also appeared to be quite self-assured when he was testifying and certainly did not appear to be a man who was afraid of anyone".

If the judge decides to move the case on to a murder trial, the defense will have a chance to challenge the judge's ruling.


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