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Published: Sat, March 11, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Judge denies 'stand your ground' defense in movie theater shooting

Judge denies 'stand your ground' defense in movie theater shooting

Reeves is charged with second-degree murder.

The defense requested that the judge dismiss the charges against Reeves based on Florida's "stand your ground " law that says a person has no duty to retreat and can use deadly force if the person fears he or she, or another, is at risk of death or serious bodily harm.

The shooting occurred inside Cobb Theatre in Wesley Chapel after an argument about Oulson using his cell phone during the movie previews.

Barthle ruled that surveillance video does not show that Oulson threw a phone at Reeves. The judge concluded that the defense arguments are an attempt to "justify [Reeves'] actions after the fact". The story differs upon Reeves' return.

During a court hearing last month, Vivian backed her husband up by testifying she was "horrified" and "scared" because of how Oulson was behaving.

"Because the defendant's testimony was significantly at odds with the physical evidence and other witness testimony, this court has considerable doubts about his credibility", Barthle ruled Friday.

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. "I perceived that. That's when the pistol came out.At that point, it was his life or mine". I really feel this was a bastardization of the "stand your ground" law.

Barthle also rejected the defense's notion that Reeves was frightened or intimidated by the 43-year-old Oulson. Furthermore, the defendant did not appear to be frail by any means; on the contrary he is quite a large and robust man. "But you don't get do-overs".

Oulson's widow, Nicole - who was in the cinema with her husband at the time, said in 2014 that Chad was texting their daughter's babysitter at the time of the shooting.

Defense attorneys said they plan to appeal Barthle's ruling to the Second District Court of Appeals. "So while this is a great leap forward, we actually haven't moved anywhere". A date for the jury trial has not yet been set.

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