Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State responds to Curtis Reeves' appeal of bail denial


The retired Tampa police captain facing a murder charge in a Pasco movie theater shooting of a fellow patron failed to show that the judge who ordered him left behind bars ruled incorrectly, a representative for the state's top prosecutor said Tuesday.

In considering an appeal filed by Curtis Reeves Jr., an appellate court "must determine whether (Reeves) has produced sufficient evidence to overcome the presumption of correctness that attaches to the Circuit Court's exercise of its sound discretion," wrote Assistant Attorney General John Klawikofsky, who filed the response for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Reeves, 71, is charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 13 shooting of Chad Oulson, 43, at the Grove Cobb Theatres in Wesley Chapel. Authorities said the shooting resulted from an argument over Oulson's refusal to stop texting his 2-year-old daughter's babysitter. Witnesses said Reeves got up and left the auditorium briefly to complain to management, then returned and began arguing with Oulson. Seconds later, they said, popcorn flew, and Reeves fired once at Oulson.

In February, Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa denied bail for Reeves, whose attorneys argued that their client acted in self-defense. During the two-day bail hearing, the defense put up a witness who "enhanced" the theater surveillance video and said a lighted object was thrown at Reeves. Defense attorneys said that object appeared to be a cellphone thrown by Oulson.

But Klawikofsky argued that the eyewitnesses all testified that they did not see Oulson threaten or attack Reeves. He also objected to the defense's video, saying the state did not have an opportunity to have its own expert review it.

"The state met its heavy burden at the bail hearing," Klawikofsky wrote in response to Reeves' attorneys' assertion that prosecutors' burden of proof at a bail hearing is even greater than the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" used in trials.

He also said Siracusa obviously was not persuaded by the defense argument that the surveillance video contained evidence that the defendant was hit with something, maybe a cellphone.

"Such argument was contrary to every witness to the crime, including Mrs. Reeves, that the defendant was not hit by any object," Klawikofsky wrote. He also said the judge questioned why there were no marks on Reeves if he had been hit with a phone.

The appeal will be heard by the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

State responds to Curtis Reeves' appeal of bail denial 05/13/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  2. Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended


    EDGEWOOD, Md. — A man with a lengthy criminal past who was fired from a job earlier this year for punching a colleague showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.

    Harford County, Md., Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler shows a picture of Radee Labeeb Prince, the suspect in the workplace shootings.
  3. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.
  4. The two Ricks tangle at what may be final debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — In what was likely the last mayoral forum before the Nov. 7 election, Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker started out small, discussing neighborhood issues like recycling and neighborhood funding. They ended tangling over familiar subjects: the future of the Tampa Bay Rays, sewage …

    Ex-Mayor Rick Baker, left, and Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, debated familiar topics. The Times’ Adam Smith moderated.
  5. Tampa Chamber of Commerce announces small business winners


    TAMPA — The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce selected the winners of the 2017 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony Wednesday night at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. More than 600 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay's small business community.

    Vincent Cassidy, president and CEO of Majesty Title Services, was named Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.