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Hearing in movie theater shooting to focus on video

WESLEY CHAPEL — A court hearing will be held Tuesday on a motion by the Pasco County State Attorney’s Office seeking guidance on the release of the surveillance video that shows the January shooting death of Chad Oulson.

The motion will be heard at 11 a.m. in front of Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City.

Curtis Reeves Jr., the former Tampa police captain charged with second-degree murder in the shooting, will not be present, according to Sixth Judicial Circuit spokesman Ron Stuart.

The motion seeks clarification on three items. First: Should the video be released to the defense attorneys and, if so, should it be a copy or viewed under the supervision of the state.

During a hearing last week, the State Attorney’s Office agreed to allow the defense team of Richard Escobar and Dino Michaels to have access to the video once it was filed this week prior to a Wednesday bond hearing.

In Monday’s motion, the State Attorney’s Office cited a Florida law that says any video, photo or audio recording of the killing of a person is deemed classified but can also be viewed by family members or released by a court order.

The video depicts the shooting of Oulson and “related acts” before and after the shooting, the motion says.

The second item in the motion deals with the State Attorney planning to play portions of the video in court, including during Wednesday’s previously planned hearing. Prosecutors want to know whether the showing of the video should be restricted in the courtroom or displayed for everyone in the courtroom to see.

Finally, once videos are reviewed by defense attorneys, they typically become public record and can be requested by media outlets. The State Attorney’s Office wants Siracusa to rule on whether the video is public record once the defense views the video or when excerpts of the video are shown in court on Wednesday.

On Jan. 13, Chad Oulson was with his wife, Nicole, at the Cobb Grove 16 Theatre to watch “Lone Survivor.” During the previews, Chad Oulson texted the couple’s babysitter to check on their 22-month-old daughter, Alexis, authorities said.

Reeves confronted Oulson about the texting, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. That led to an argument. Reeves left the theater to complain to the manager of the multiplex, returned to his seat and an argument ensued. Investigators said popcorn was thrown before Reeves pulled a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol from his pants pocket and shot Oulson in the chest. The bullet also struck Nicole Oulson’s left hand before hitting her husband, investigators said.

Reeves remains in the Land O’ Lakes Jail.

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