04/18/2022 - TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) Curtis Reeves Innocent In Movie Theater Trial. Experts in Focus

Defense attorneys endvoured with success to try and prove that Curtis Reeves was legally justified in the fatal shooting of Chad Oulson at a movie theater in 2014. Retired Tampa police captain, Reeves was accused of murdering Oulson in 2014 in a Wesley Chapel movie theater after the two men argued over the use of a cell phone.

Attorneys drew on evidence with the use of mannequins. The state argued they were not close to the actual size of those involved and would have given the jury an unrealistic view of what happened. The judge took time to go to her office to look up matters of law and then ruled against the state objection.

Eventually, the judge allowed the testimony with some restrictions.
Dr. Michael Knox, a forensic science and criminologist spent several hours testifying about the evidence he feels should have been collected at the crime scene by the Pasco County Sheriff’s office.

Knox says the detectives in charge of the case should have brought witnesses back into the theater and had the movie previews playing at the same sound and light level as they were playing at the time of the shooting.
Knox said, “So it’s not just about coming in and taking what somebody says at face value, it’s about testing what they said to make sure it’s true and accurate,”
Tampa attorney Bryant Camareno is not involved in the case, but has handled many high-profile cases.

Camareno says a defense team often uses expert testimony for many reasons.
“One theory is to educate jurors. The other theory sometimes is to distract jurors. You know, sometimes if you have a really strong case, if the state has a really strong case, sometimes experts are there to distract jurors and give them alternative theories and defenses,” said Camareno.

However, he also claimed the strategy can go against the defense if an expert witness takes too long on the stand.

“The risk is this, is the average attention span for humans is 20 minutes,” said Camareno.
Several of the defense witnesses testified for hours. Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson, 43, in January 2014, after they argued about Oulson’s use of a cell phone during previews. Reeves' attorneys argued that the shooting was in self defense. For the jury to have found Reeves guilty of second-degree murder, they would have had to find he acted with hatred, ill will, malice, or evil intent when he shot Oulson.

The state said Oulson's DNA was found on his cell phone, which the defense claims he threw at Reeves moments before the shooting, but Reeves' DNA was not. Michaels is telling the jury testing showed no one could be conclusively linked to DNA on phone - including Oulson.