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Jury begins deliberations in trial of Curtis Reeves, retired police captain who shot and killed a man in movie theater

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Jury begins deliberations in trial of Curtis Reeves, retired police captain who shot and killed a man in movie theater

Curtis Reeves, left, leaves court during a break in closings with his daughter Jennifer Shaw, center, and wife Vivian Reeves, right, during the trial at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City, Florida on February 25.

Jurors in the trial of Curtis Reeves, a retired Florida police captain accused of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in the 2014 killing of Chad Oulson, began deliberating Friday evening, as seen on CNN affiliate Court TV.

Reeves pleaded not guilty and claimed self-defense, previously telling authorities after he and Oulson got into an argument about texting in a movie theater, Reeves thought he would be attacked. Oulson's wife was injured in the shooting but survived.

"Nobody is ever above the law," state prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser said during his closing arguments. "(Reeves) killed another human being in a crowded movie theater next to his wife for no reason."

Defense attorney Richard Escobar urged jurors to put themselves in Reeves' shoes at the time of the incident -- he was 71 years old then -- and the perceived threat he believed existed, calling Reeves a "decorated law enforcement officer who had countless hours of training in the use of force, in the assessment of danger, and the risks that take place when we are faced with a dangerous encounter."

The jury will be allowed to deliberate as late as they need to, according to Court TV.

The case garnered widespread attention at the time of the killing, partly because of Reeves' self-defense claim under Florida's "stand your ground" law, a claim which was ultimately denied by a judge.

The trial's eight-year delay comes as a result of various motions, pretrial hearings and the Covid-19 pandemic, according to CNN affiliate WFTS. TJ Grimaldi, an attorney for Oulson's wife, called the delays embarrassing, saying they allowed Reeves to continue to "be at home with his loved ones and spend time with his family."

Reeves initially claimed he shot Oulson in self-defense when the two got into an argument over Oulson texting -- his wife said he was messaging their daughter's babysitter -- during a screening of "Lone Survivor" in a Wesley Chapel movie theater outside Tampa.

Reeves confronted Oulson about texting during the previews before the movie, according to a criminal complaint.

Eventually the two got into an argument, and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, who then took out a handgun and fired, hitting Oulson in the chest, according to the complaint.

Oulson was taken to a hospital, where he died. His wife was shot in the hand.

Reeves told authorities he was "in fear of being attacked," according to the complaint. He and his attorneys have argued Oulson threw a cellphone at Reeves' head and was aggressively leaning over a chair toward him when the shooting occurred. Prosecutors have said popcorn is not a weapon and added witnesses did not report seeing Oulson throwing his cellphone.


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