Retired Tampa, Fla., police captain Curtis Reeves Jr., 71, who was charged Monday with second-degree murder after he shot 43-year-old Chad Oulson dead in a dispute over texting at a movie theater Monday is a church going man who attends Bible study regularly.
Information highlighted during a court hearing Tuesday revealed that the former officer, who was also once a homicide detective, is an active participant at a local First Baptist church and regularly attends Bible study meetings, according to his defense lawyer in a video recording of the hearing posted to YouTube.
A Tampa Bay Times report said Reeves had the support of family and church members at the hearing and spoke very little as his lawyer painted him as an upstanding, God-fearing member of his community. The Christian Post reached out to several First Baptist churches in the area to verify his lawyer's claim, but none of them had Reeves as a member on record.
Reeves' lawyer also attempted to argue against the second-degree murder charge pointing out that his client was attacked with popcorn by Oulson and the ex-officer had "every right" to defend himself.
"What started the incident may have been the bag of popcorn according to the affidavit but what's important here is the officer's interview of Mr. Reeves which clearly indicate that he was attacked. He was hit in the face with an unknown object. At that point in time he has every right to defend himself concerning that particular object."
Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper however shot back that she was satisfied that "the evidence of guilt is significant and…the proof is great" that a second-degree murder took place. Reeves now faces life in prison.
In explaining why Reeves qualified for the second-degree murder charge, Judge Tepper quoted the requirements for the charge from legal guidelines.
"…'perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another', I guess that would be pulling a gun, and 'evidencing a depraved mind regardless of human life'. The only description I have is that he was struck by an unknown object not by a hard object, not that he was knocked around," said Tepper.
"An unknown object doesn't equal taking out a gun and firing it at somebody's chest. In addition that certainly would have been to effect the death. The court is finding that there is more than sufficient probable cause of second-degree murder," she continued.