Pasco movie theater shooting case could be impacted by ‘Stand Your Ground’ law changes

Curtis Reeves testified for 6 hours during a 'Stand Your Ground' hearing on Feb. 28, 2017.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves testified that he feared for his life, so he shot and killed Chad Oulson in an argument over texting at a Wesley Chapel movie theater in 2014. After a pre-trial hearing that took two weeks, a judge will soon decide if Reeves is immune to prosecution under the Stand Your Ground law.

But, what happens if the law changes?

State lawmakers are set to vote on major changes to the law, including one that would place the burden of proof on the state.

“It would require the state to prove that someone didn’t act in self-defense,” said local defense attorney John Hackworth.

Hackworth says if the law changes, prosecutors could face an uphill battle.

“If it’s a murder, one of the witnesses is already dead, so you have limited witnesses. Generally, these things don’t happen on a street corner, so putting that enhanced burden on the state would make it that much more difficult to prosecute these folks.”

What about the Reeves case?  Could that be impacted by these changes, too?

“I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that yet. I do know that had his attorney Mr. Escobar known about this, and the statues were enacted, I can guarantee he would have testified under the new statute, and the burden is so much higher, it probably would have increased their chances of succeeding on this motion significantly,” said Hackworth.

Another big change in the Stand Your Ground law up for vote is that the defendant’s testimony during pre-trial would not be able to be used against them in court.

Hackworth also says if enacted, it would make it easier for criminals to take advantage of the Stand Your Ground law.

The legislative session starts tomorrow, where these changes are on the agenda.

WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON-

>> back to WFLA.com for more top stories

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s