The attorney for Curtis Reeves Jr., accused in a Pasco movie theater shooting in January, said his client will take the stand when he faces trial on a second-degree murder charge.
In addition, Tampa attorney Richard Escobar said he plans to interview Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and possibly call him as a witness.
The reasoning: If Nocco's deputies can justifiably shoot and kill an unarmed suspect who threatened them during an undercover drug buy, as happened this month in Zephyrhills, why shouldn't Reeves be able to do the same?
"The sheriff agrees that if an individual doesn't have a weapon, it is reasonable to shoot," Escobar said Wednesday.
Reeves, 71, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Chad Oulson.
On Jan. 13, the two argued over Oulson texting during matinee previews. Reeves said Oulson, 43, attacked him and threw something that knocked off his glasses. Reeves is a retired Tampa police captain.
Escobar said Florida's self-defense law is on his client's side.
"It's not what you would have done, but what a reasonable person would have done," Escobar said. "Curtis Reeves is a 71-year-old man with many ailments. He's a highly trained law enforcement officer. The law of self defense puts you in his shoes."
On July 1, undercover Pasco deputies moved in to arrest 41-year-old Jerry Dwight Brown outside Big Ben's Used Tires in Zephyrhills. They ordered him to show his hands, Nocco said in a news conference the next day, but Brown moved in a way that made them fear for their lives. He said deputies made "a split-second decision."
Brown, who was suspected of dealing pills, was shot by two detectives.
On Wednesday, Nocco released this statement: "I am not going to comment on Mr. Escobar's defense strategy. However, I know our Pasco Sheriff's Office detectives will do an outstanding job presenting the facts in the courtroom."
Reeves had been held without bail until last week, when he was given a $150,000 bail and was released from jail. He must wear an ankle bracelet and can only leave his home for church, the doctor and the grocery store. His trial is unlikely to start until next year at the earliest.