Attorney for theater shooting victim's family responds to motion
WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - The attorney for the widow of the man killed by a retired Tampa Police captain in the 2014 Pasco County movie theater shooting called the defense's Stand Your Ground motion "a joke."
A day after FOX 13 first broke the news that the attorneys for Curtis Reeves filed the Stand Your Ground motion, T.J. Grimaldi, who represents Nicole Oulsen, said he doesn't think it should apply.
"It's shocking because I, as blunt as I can be, think it's an absolute joke that this law or immunity defense could apply to these sets of facts," Grimaldi told FOX 13 Tuesday.
The 55-page motion, filed Friday, paints Reeves as a fearful, elderly 71-year-old victim, who used his gun to stop the potentially-deadly attack of a much younger, stronger Chad Oulsen, 43.
In the motion, Reeves' lawyers call Oulsen's behavior, "a terrifying barrage of curse words, screaming, menacing behavior, threats to cause serious bodily harm, and then, two physical attacks."
The defense believes the first verbal assault came after Reeves asked Oulsen, who was on a date with his wife, to stop using his cell phone. Reeves got up to tell a manager and came back to his seat.
Grimaldi said that is a sign he was not in fear.
"Is there a suggestion that he is reasonably in fear for his life before that incident? If he was, why would he return to the theater? Why would he not take his wife and say,'we need to get out of here, this guy is going to kill us both'?" Grimaldi said.
Reeves has said, once he sat back down, Oulsen threw his phone at him, then lunged over his seat to grab Reeves' popcorn, which he threw back in Reeves' face. That's when Reeves fired the shot.
The defense will have to convince a judge Reeves' reacted "reasonably."
"How would a reasonable person determine that he needs to kill someone? I suggest that it's a joke," Grimaldi said, adding he thinks a judge will deny the motion. "I think this is a slam dunk. I think that Stand Your Ground will not be granted. But I think that this has to be filed. As a criminal defense attorney, it is very clear that he has no other options but to file this."
Florida's Stand Your Ground law allows a person to meet force with force if that person feel his or her life is in imminent danger.
Another Tampa attorney, Anthony Rickman, told FOX 13 Reeves has a pretty convincing case.
"I'm 71 years old, I'm frail, I had hip surgery because of a simple fall," said Rickman, speaking from Reeves' point of view. "This man is 6-foot-4 inches and he is towering over me. He's made threats against me, he's thrown something at me. What Reeves is going to argue is that I had reason to believe, based on all these circumstances, I was going to be a victim."
The hearing is scheduled for the end of January. If the motion is granted, Reeves would avoid trial and walk free.