Curtis Reeves, 71, said he feared for his life when he fatally
shot Chad Oulson, 43, in a movie theater in Wesley Chapel, north of
Tampa, according to an interview played at a bail hearing.
"The guy scared the hell out of me," Reeves said in a 29-minute
audio recording of a police interview played publicly for the first
time at the hearing.
"If I had to do it over again, it never would have happened," Reeves
told detectives. "I would have moved."
Reeves' attorneys said he should be given bail because any action he
took was to defend himself.
But Circuit Court Judge Pat Siracusa ruled on Friday that Reeves
will stay in jail until he stands trial, wrapping up a two-day bond
hearing that featured elements of a mini-trial, including
surveillance video of the incident.
Reeves' attorney, Richard Escobar, said he planned to appeal.
In court Friday, Escobar said Reeves was in fear of his life, and
reacted on instinct and training to defend himself.
Reeves said he became upset when Oulson would not shut off his cell
phone as the previews began at a matinee of the combat drama "Lone
The two men exchanged words. Reeves said Oulson told him he was
texting his daughter's baby-sitter.
Reeves left to contact a manager, but returned to his seat alone
moments later. More words were exchanged, and Reeves said Oulson
grew more aggressive and leaned in toward him.
"I had nowhere to go," Reeves said on the recording. "I kept leaning
back. Then he was virtually on top of me."
Reeves said he fired the gun because he believed Oulson had hit him.
He described feeling pain in his left eye and shoulder.
Escobar said his client believes he was struck by Oulson's cell
phone. "This is not a popcorn throwing case, but throwing a deadly
missile case," Escobar said.
Eyewitnesses testified Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves.
A prosecutor said on Wednesday that Oulson did not strike or touch
Reeves during the altercation.
[to top of second column]
The grainy, 29-minute video showed Reeves' movements in Theater 10
the day of the shooting, but not Oulson's, who was seated outside of
The video showed Reeves being stuck by an unknown object that
appeared from out of camera view, and Reeves raising his right hand
in a forward motion.
Reeves' defense attorneys persuaded the judge to allow an enhanced
version of the video to be shown in court. Escobar said his version
showed Reeves being struck in the face by Oulson's cell phone.
After viewing the defense team's version, the judge said he could
not tell what object created the moving light on the screen.
Audio recordings of interviews with both men's wives also were
played for a judge on Friday.
Vivian Reeves said Oulson cursed at her husband when he asked him to
"stop playing with his cell phone." Oulson's widow, Nicole,
described Reeves as being rude and nasty.
Nicole Oulson said she stood and placed her hand on her husband's
chest to help calm the situation just before the shooting occurred.
A single bullet struck both of the Oulsons. Nicole Oulson was shot
in the left ring finger, and her husband suffered a chest wound.
"I saw a spark and heard a pop," said Nicole Oulson, whose left hand
was bandaged as she sat in court on Friday.
(Editing by David Adams, Colleen Jenkins, Gunna Dickson and Lisa
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.