Curtis Reeves: Judge rules on release of movie theater shooting video
10:00 AM, Feb 5, 2014
1:02 PM, Feb 5, 2014
DADE CITY, Fla. -
UPDATES: A judge has allowed the defense team 30 days to review discovery material before it is released.
Judge says surveillance video that shows shooting can be viewed in open court and recorded off-screen by the media.
"I'm not going to close court. The video is still part of discovery. Hence, subject to the thirty-day hold on dissemination. However, I don't find that the Lewis standard has been met to close court. The legitimacy of our court system and the strength of our democracy is fostered when the public has broad access to court proceedings. Withholding this video from public view would only fuel speculation about what is on it. If the video is played in court then the media can tape what any number of the public could see off of the screen if that member of public was present," said Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa.
Reeves pleads not guilty to second-degree murder.
State witness will testify he heard Curtis Reeves say "Throw your popcorn at my face will you."
PREVIOUS: Surveillance video showing a deadly shooting in a Wesley Chapel movie theater could be made public.
A judge will announce his decision at a hearing today in which Curtis Reeves, the alleged shooter, could also have his bond reduced.
Reeves, 71, a retired Tampa Police Department captain, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Chad Oulson. Investigators say he opened fire Jan. 13 after arguing with Oulson, who was text messaging prior to the movie.
The shooting also injured his wife, Nicole Oulson.
"Nicole's main purpose here is for the truth to be found out," said TJ Grimaldi, a lawyer representing Oulson's widow.
Nicole Oulson appreciated Judge Pat Siracusa's decision to ask her feelings on whether the video from theater 10 should be released.
"He doesn't have to do that, but that he did makes it very sincere," she said.
Her attorneys did most of the talking after Tuesday's hearing in a Dade City courtroom. When it comes to making the video public, they're deferring to what prosecutors want. But Olson's widow wants justice, they said, and for Reeves to stay behind bars.
"I think her goal is for the public to see this and know the truth about the murder of her husband," said lawyer Stephen Leal, who is also representing Nicole Oulson.
Prosecutors handed over a hard drive with the video to Reeves' lawyer, although they admitted its quality is poor.
Even before getting a look at the footage, the defense filed a motion blocking its release. They argue making it public would hurt Reeves' chances at a fair trial.
"We've got to try this case in court, not with the media and, with all do respect to the media, that's the forum where we get to confront evidence. That's the forum where we get to present evidence in search of the truth," said Richard Escobar, Reeves' lawyer.
That video could show Oulson throwing a bag of popcorn at Reeves during the argument.
"I don't care if he threw popcorn, if he threw Twizzlers, if he threw a can of Coke," Grimaldi said. "There's no reason for it to go from where it was to murder."
Portions of the video will be shown in court Wednesday.