DADE CITY (FOX 13) - The wife of the man who was shot and killed in a Wesley Chapel movie theater in 2014 testified for the first time Thursday during the Stand Your Ground hearing for the retired Tampa Police captain charged in the case.
Nicole Oulson was the first witness called by Curtis Reeves' defense attorneys during the fourth day of the hearing. On January 13, 2014, she was seated next to her husband, Chad Oulson, when Reeves and his wife, Vivian Reeves, sat down behind them.
Chad Oulson had his cell phone out as the previews started to roll. That's when Reeves leaned forward and made his first contact with Oulson and Nicole described the then-71-year-old as "rude."
"It felt demanding and like an order," she told defense attorney Dino Michaels during his questioning. "He's in our space. Most people would ask politely, 'would you mind turning your phone off?' It wasn't like that. His whole demeanor, whole presence, the whole tone, everything about it did not sound friendly."
Michaels, however, pressed Nicole to agree that Reeves was also being "matter of fact," which she eventually conceded.
The back-and-forth between the defense and widow of Chad Oulson painted a clear picture how each side wants portray the other as the aggressor who overreacted. Nicole went on to say her husband barely reacted to the first contact.
"[Chad] just kind of blows him off and says, 'what's your problem, the movie hasn't even started yet?'" Nicole said.
She told the court that it was after Reeves' second request that her husband appeared to get agitated. During testimony Wednesday, Vivian Reeves described hearing Chad Oulson snap back with an obscenity filled response, which she said was the real problem.
"It scared me, it's horrifying that somebody would act like that, especially in a movie theater," Vivian Reeves said.
After Curtis Reeves returned from telling a theater manager, the argument escalated.
"What do you remember Mr. Reeves saying?" Michaels asked Nicole.
"[Something] to the effect of, 'you've put your phone away now, I see,'" she responded. "I remember feeling this should have been over. He's got what he wanted."
Vivian Reeves said that set Chad Oulson off.
"[Chad said], 'you told on me, who the f--- do you think you are?" Vivian Reeves said she heard Chad Oulson ask her husband. "Mr. Oulson quickly stood up and leaned forward and I thought he was coming over."
Both women had similar stories about how they reacted to the argument as it heated up: they both turned away or just didn't watch.
Neither of them saw Oulson throw his cell phone, as the defense claims. Neither of them saw Oulson throw Curtis Reeves' popcorn back at him, which has not been disputed.
But both wives heard the gunshot. Nicole felt it, as the bullet it passed through her hand, which was coming up to Chad's chest in an attempt to calm him down.
"The only thing that you know is when you reached over and the shot was fired, you were struck with the same bullet that went into his chest and killed him, right?" Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia asked during cross examination.
"Yes," Nicole responded.
Testimony will resume Friday morning with the judge scheduled to go to the Cobb Theater and sit in the exact seat that Curtis Reeves sat in three years ago, as the defense attempts to recreate the conditions during the incident.