No bail for ex-officer charged in theater shooting

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2014 at 6:28 pm •  Published: February 7, 2014
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DADE CITY, Fla. (AP) — A bail hearing for a retired Tampa police officer who fatally shot a man inside a movie theater during an argument over texting took a dramatic turn Friday: Prosecutors played a grainy video of the shooting and a recording of the defendant's police interview.

"If I had it to do over again, it would have never happened," Curtis Reeves told detectives. "But you don't get do-overs."

Reeves, 71, is charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 13 killing of Chad Oulson, 43. At the end of the hearing, which provided glimpses of the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutors' case, the judge ordered Reeves held without bail until his trial.

Reeves did not react when the judge announced his decision. His attorneys say they will appeal.

Oulson's widow, Nicole Oulson, looked relieved and sat with her eyes closed for a moment as the judge spoke. Later, she spoke to reporters.

"I'm just very happy and relieved by the judge's ruling," she said. Nicole Oulson was struck in the hand by the bullet that killed her husband.

According to the police interview, Reeves said Oulson hit him in the face, possibly with a cellphone, and he shot in self-defense. Yet other witnesses, including Reeves' wife, told authorities they never saw Oulson strike Reeves.

Vivian Reeves did tell police that Oulson stood up and leaned over toward her husband just before the shooting, and the video appears to show some sort of contact between the two men.

Defense attorney Richard Escobar seized on those inconsistencies during his closing arguments to the judge and said the witnesses in the theater were "all over the place" and that the people who saw Oulson die in the theater that day "want to do everything they can" to help Oulson in the courtroom.

Escobar argued that Reeves should be released on bail because he is a decorated, retired police captain who has deep ties to the community.

Reeves pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Prosecutor Manny Garcia argued that Reeves should remain in jail without bail.

"Pointing the gun, firing the gun, and his statements constitute second-degree murder," Garcia said. "If he left the firearm in the car, we wouldn't be here today."

Prosecutors also played a recording of a police interview with Nicole Oulson.

"He kept saying stuff to my husband," Oulson said of Reeves. She said she didn't immediately realize her husband had been shot.

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