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Florida Judge Rejects ‘Stand Your Ground’ Defense in Movie Theater Shooting

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A retired police captain who shot and killed a man in a movie theater will stand trial for second-degree murder after a judge ruled that Florida’s “stand your ground” law is not applicable in this case.

Following two weeks of pre-trial testimony, Judge Susan Barthle ruled against Curtis Reeves’ claims that he used his gun in self-defense when he fired his weapon, CNN reports.

“Because the defendant’s testimony was significantly at odds with the physical evidence and other witness testimony, this court has considerable doubts about his credibility, and is not willing to come to the conclusion that these circumstances are those envisioned by the Legislature when the ‘stand your ground’ law was enacted,” Barthle said, according to CNN.

In Jan. 2014, Reeves, then 71, shot Chad Oulson, 43, in a suburban Tampa movie theater after the men engaged in an argument over Oulson’s texting during a movie preview. In response to Reeves’ complaints, Oulson threw his bag of popcorn at Reeves, who in turn took out his handgun and fired on Oulson, killing him.

The defense team used Oulson’s popcorn-throwing to justify the shooting, citing the controversial “stand your ground” law that allows Florida residents to use deadly force whenever they fear serious bodily harm or death. The law was at the center of George Zimmerman’s 2013 trial in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

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