WESLEY CHAPEL — One day three years ago, retired Tampa cop Curtis Reeves sat in seat No. 9 of theater No. 10 of the Cobb Grove 16 cinemas. As previews rolled, he pulled out a gun, and used it, during an escalating confrontation over a cell phone.
6 Months Ago
1 Day Ago
1 Day Matbet Ago
On Friday, a circuit court judge took that seat, and for her benefit, the same previews rolled, starting with Sabotage and RoboCop.
The fifth day of a high-profile "stand your ground" hearing opened at the movies. Reeves, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Chad Oulson, 43, did not attend but attorneys did, and so did Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Susan Barthle.
Dressed in ordinary street clothes, a colorful top and black slacks, she leaned forward in the seat as Reeves had done that Jan. 13, 2014 day. She pushed on the back of it. She looked at the floor, down the aisle, stood and surveyed the back of the theater. She saw the video cameras that had captured the scene.
The judge had a piece of paper in her hand.
"Is that the door that Ms. Turner came in?" she asked.
Moviegoer Joanna Turner was one of the witnesses who testified earlier in the week.
"And the ex-boyfriend jumped somewhere down here?"
Answers came from attorneys who sat around her.
"And the witnesses were kept over in that area?"
At the start of Sabotage, the sound wasn't working. Reeves' attorney, Richard Escobar, had the theater put it at a precise setting in an apparent attempt to replicate theater conditions from the day of the shooting. It was loud enough to make conversation difficult.
News reporters watched from an upper level, the cinebistro, taking notes. Theater operators initially objected to public or media attendance. An attorney for the Tampa Bay Times intervened, and after a short delay Friday morning, reporters were permitted to chronicle the event.
Regular court proceedings resume at 1 p.m.
Check back with tampabay.com for updates.
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