WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - Attorneys for Curtis Reeves, the retired Tampa police captain accused of shooting a man in Wesley Chapel movie theater in 2014, asked a judge Thursday to give their client more freedom as the case remains in limbo.
Appearing in court for the first time in almost a year, Reeves, now 76, listened as his defense attorney Dino Michaels argued he should not be on house arrest any longer.
"I don't think there's a need for house arrest. There's no need for a GPS monitor in this case," Michaels said after the hearing. "Why is the public safe if he's in a grocery store, if he's in a church or if he's in a doctor's office and if he goes anywhere else the public isn't safe? It just doesn't make sense at this point. He doesn't need a GPS the judge says he's not a risk of flight. He's not a danger to the community."
Reeves also wants ownership of his confiscated weapons transferred to his son, who is in law enforcement.
In 2014, Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson as they argued about Oulson using a cell phone in the theater. Reeves is charged with second-degree murder but claims he was defending himself after he Oulson's phone his Reeves in the face and he had his own popcorn thrown at him.
A judge denied Reeves' initial 'stand your ground' motion, but that part of the case remains in limbo after legislators changed the law last year, potentially forcing a new hearing. In the meantime, there's no timetable on when the case might go to trial.
Michaels said Reeves has earned the right to have more freedom while he awaits trial.
"How is he a danger to the public just because he wants to go to a restaurant with his wife? How is he a danger to the public or the community, just because he wants to walk around the block with his granddaughter?" Michaels asked, adding there is a financial hardship as well. "What retired person has an extra 338, 340 dollars a month to spend? Mr. Reeves has spent his savings, spent his investments, spent his retirement funds for five years of litigation up to this point."
TJ Grimaldi, an attorney for Oulson's family, has a lot of concerns.
"To suggest that, because he's been a good boy during the delay that the defense has created, to then use that to try to get him to do whatever he wants or be able to do whatever he wants, my opinion is an atrocity. I think there's absolutely no reason why things should change," said Grimaldi, who represents Oulson's widow, Nicole Oulson. "If you can imagine what's going through her mind that all of a sudden anywhere, at any time that she could bump into the person that she literally watched murder her husband, what would you think?"
There is now a new judge presiding over this case -- at least the third to do so since it began five years ago -- who wants to review previous hearings before making a decision on the motion argued in court Thursday. Legal experts expect a decision to take days, if not, weeks.