Judge still unable to set trial date for theater shooting case - FOX 13 News

Judge still unable to set trial date for theater shooting case

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Curtis Reeves enters court (pool photo) Curtis Reeves enters court (pool photo)
Nicole Oulson, Chad's widow Nicole Oulson, Chad's widow

We still don't know exactly when Curtis Reeves will go to trial. After consulting with attorneys on both sides, Judge Pat Siracusa instead set a September date for the next pre-trial hearing in the theater shooting case.

Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, is accused of shooting and killing Chad Oulson during a dispute over texting at a Wesley Chapel movie theater. He has remained in jail without bond since January.

"This is very normal for a homicide case like this," Reeves' attorney, Richard Escobar, said after the hearing. "We're eager at some point in time to try this case. I think I told you many months ago, don't rush to judgment. Let's try this case here."

The wait has been agonizing for Oulson's widow, Nicole Oulson, her attorney said.

"We definitely are disappointed over the fact that this is going to take an extended period of time to get done," said T.J. Grimaldi. "We were hoping for a fall trial date and just making the inevitable continue until 2015 seems unnecessary, but I understand that there's a lot of work to be done."

Reeves walked into court Wednesday looking considerably thinner since his arrest after the shooting in January.

"He's an elderly gentleman. He is in jail, which is not a good place to be," Escobar said. "It's tough even on the younger inmates and so you can imagine on Mr. Reeves being 71, going to be 72. But he's strong. He's got incredible faith in our justice system and he is looking forward to his day in court."

Judge Siracusa had hoped to set a trial date for some time between October and December. He instead scheduled the next pretrial hearing for Sept. 10.

Lawyers for both sides said they needed more time to prepare for the trial. Prosecutors and defense attorneys are continuing to go over evidence with experts, particularly surveillance video. Reeves' lawyers also still need to depose about 100 witnesses the state might call during trial.

The trial, which will likely now take place no earlier than early 2015, will apparently include a visit to the scene of the crime, the Cobb CinéBistro at Grove 16.

The judge also warned Reeves' attorneys that they need to provide at least four weeks of warning if they plan to use a 'stand your ground' defense. Escobar wouldn't say whether that's their plan.

Both sides agreed today that a plea deal isn't going to happen. The state wants to send Reeves to prison, but Reeves says he's not guilty.

"There would be a plea deal that would be good enough and that would be that the government realizes that Mr. Reeves is innocent and they drop all the charges," Escobar said.

"To be anything short of a long prison sentence, in my opinion, would be unjust," Grimaldi said.

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