Nicole Oulson told a national television audience today that she wants Curtis Reeves, the man accused of killing her husband in a Wesley Chapel movie theater, to spend the rest of his life in prison.
“He brought an unfair life sentence to me to have to raise my daughter alone, to have to live without the love of my life, for my daughter to grow up without her daddy by her side for graduation and marriage,” Oulson said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “It was so unnecessary, it was for no reason. So I want him behind bars and to be punished for his senseless act.
Oulson’s husband, Chad, was fatally shot Jan. 13 after a confrontation when Reeves asked him to stop texting, deputies said. Friends said Chad Oulson was checking on his 22-month-daughter, who was ill and with a babysitter. Nicole Oulson’s finger was wounded in the shooting.
“The gunshot wound in my finger is the least of my worries right now. That will heal,” she told host Robin Roberts. “The real pain is in my heart, and that’s going to take a long time, if ever, to get over.”
Oulson, of Land O’ Lakes, traveled with her attorney to New York for the six-minute interview, which took place a day after speaking about a minute at an emotional news conference in Tampa.
Oulson said she is trying to stay strong for her daughter, Alexis, who isn’t aware her father is dead but notices he isn’t around at bedtime.
“She’s luckily, thankfully at a young age where I don’t think that this is going to have as much of an impact on her right now. She doesn’t know what is going on,” Oulson said.
“But there are times, at night especially — that was my husband’s ritual to put her to bed — and it’s times like that where, before, the last thing he would say to her before tucking her in is that, ‘You make me so happy, Daddy so happy, Lexi,’ and she would say, ‘Me happy, too, Daddy, Lexi happy, too.’
“And those are the times I’ll never be able to replace.”
Oulson offered some detail about the afternoon of shooting, which took place on a rare date for the couple because they worked different schedules. They decided to see “Lone Survivor” at the Cobb Grove 16 Theatre.
“We just wanted to spend the day together,” Oulson said. “We got there a little early just to get some concessions and relax a little bit. We were watching the previews. Just having a good time.”
Investigators said Reeves, 71, a former Tampa police officer and security chief at Busch Gardens, asked Chad Oulson to stop texting on his cellphone. Investigators said an argument escalated and popcorn was thrown before Reeves pulled out a handgun and shot the 43-year-old in the chest.
“We were just sitting there getting ready for the movie to start,” Oulson told “GMA.” We are both very respectable when the movie’s on that we put our phones away, so he took a couple of seconds just to check the phone to make sure there were no messages about our daughter before putting his phone away.”
She said the incident took about 30 seconds.
Reeves is charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bail. During a first appearance in court last week, his attorney told a judge Reeves was struck with an unknown object during the theater dispute and in fear for his life before defending himself.
Oulson said she saw no reason for Reeves to feel threatened.
“Absolutely not, not in the least,” she said. “I never expected it, never could have imagined it. It was a couple of words. No threats, no harm, nothing.”
Oulson’s attorney, T.J. Grimaldi, who also spoke at Wednesday’s news conference, told “GMA” there was no reason for the texting dispute to escalate so quickly.
“It doesn’t matter if it was popcorn (thrown), if it was Twizzlers, if it was a hot cup of coffee,” he said.
“Knowing also that he (Reeves) probably is the individual that is trained the most to be able to de-escalate a situation. Being a cop, being in charge of security at a major amusement park, he should know how to bring things down to a calm level, not escalate it himself.”
Roberts asked Grimaldi if Reeves might use a “stand your ground” defense.
“There is just no way it can stand up in this case,” Grimaldi said of the controversial law. “... It’s not an offensive thing. With what happened in this movie theater that day that’s the only thing that occurred here. ... He (Reeves) was the aggressor, he was the offender, and he took it to another level.”