TJ Grimaldi Shares Reaction to “Wrong” Not Guilty Verdict in Reeves Murder Trial

After waiting for more than eight years to get justice for her husband, Nicole Oulson got the terrible news that the man who killed her husband in front of her would walk free.

On Friday, February 25, 2022, a jury of six found Curtis Reeves not guilty of the murder of Chad Oulson.

An Eight-Year Wait For the Wrong Verdict

TJ Grimaldi has been representing Nicole Oulson throughout the eight-year legal battle and says the verdict and the years leading up to the trial are in many ways a failure of justice.

For eight years, after shooting Chad Oulson in a movie theater, 79-year-old Reeves has been able to be home with his family while waiting for his day in court. From the onset, his legal team did everything they could to delay the trial knowing it would keep Reeves out of prison.

“After the horrific day on January 13, 2014 where Curtis Reeves murdered Chad Oulson, Nicole Oulson and the Oulson family were forced to live with delay after delay for over eight years in their attempt to seek justice. To have to suffer like that, knowing that Mr. Reeves was able to be home with his family made the wait that much more difficult,” says Grimaldi.

Now, after a three-week trial, the Oulson family did not get the justice they’ve been patiently waiting for. The jury took approximately 3 ½ hours to decide to acquit Reeves of the two charges against him: aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder.

The verdict comes after multiple witnesses took the stand and described the same scene in the movie theater over and over. Curtis Reeves and Chad Oulson exchanged heated words. Popcorn flew in the air, but Chad Oulson didn’t appear to try and hit Reeves. Reeves pulled out his firearm and shot Chad Oulson in the chest, killing him and also injuring Nicole Oulson.

Grimaldi says the not guilty verdict adds even more pain to a family who has already gone through years of heartache waiting for the case to go to trial.

“To get slapped in the face with not guilty verdicts is just like getting salt in a wound,” Grimaldi says.

Related: Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case To Finally Start Trial 8 Years Later

No Justice for the Oulson Family

“As for the Oulson family, I will always be here to assist them in any way possible as it was my honor to be chosen to help them from the outset,” says Grimaldi.

But at this point, there isn’t much the Oulson family can do. A not guilty verdict removes any chances of a criminal conviction, and civil lawsuits against Curtis Reeves, Cobb Theater, and theater-employee Thomas Peck have already been settled.

Grimaldi believes the verdict sets a dangerous precedent for future cases.

“I worry for the future of our state as it seems as if people can get away with anything, as long as they can afford to pay the price,” he says.

“This case is another stain on the legal process in Florida. Some will try to say this will not set a bad precedent because the facts are unique. To that, I will say that creative lawyers learn how to adapt their facts to fit into certain parts of this case and who knows, one day someone will kill someone else as a result of a pillow fight, and they will be allowed to continue to live a free life,” Grimaldi says.

Grimaldi doesn’t blame the prosecutors for being unable to secure a guilty verdict in the case. Instead, he blames a system that rewards defendants with the resources and connections.

Reeves is a retired Tampa police captain.

“I do believe that the prosecutors did all they could to convict Curtis Reeves as I was familiar with their strategy and was there for this entire trial. But unfortunately, they had to fight an uphill battle at every turn, including the defense being allowed to introduce basically anything they wanted,” says Grimaldi.

Related: Curtis Reeves Movie Theater Shooting Trial Enters Week Three

The Jury Got It Wrong

At the end of a trial, the case is ultimately in the hands of the jury. In this case, Grimaldi feels they simply got it wrong.

“I do not believe the defense or the defendant did anything to advance their position. The jury just plain got it wrong. If I am incorrect and somehow the jury got it right, I fear for our future and the future of our judicial system,” says Grimaldi.

For now, Grimaldi is providing support to the Oulsons during this difficult time. They have waited eight years and been forced to relieve the tragedy over and over in court, only to get no justice for a man who was a friend, husband, and father, senseless shot and killed during the trailers of an afternoon movie date with his wife.

Curtis Reeves Movie Theater Shooting Trial Enters Week Three

As the trial against Curtis Reeves enters its third week, many witnesses have already taken the stand to share what they saw on the day Reeves shot and killed Chad Oulson in a Pasco County movie theater.

There is no denying that Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, is the person who shot Oulson in the chest, fatally wounding him and injuring Oulson’s wife who was standing next to him. All witnesses agree on this fact. The differences come in the depiction of what led up to the shooting.

Theater Witnesses Share Their Stories

The prosecution called witnesses to share their experience of the day the shooting occurred, which was more than eight years ago.

In most cases, the witnesses shared the same story. They saw Curtis Reeves and Chad Oulson exchange words. They saw Oulson stand up and turn around to face Reeves, who was sitting in the row behind the Oulsons. Then, they heard a loud bang.

Some recalled seeing popcorn fly in the air before the bang. But, witnesses also testified that they didn’t see Oulson raise a fist, throw his phone, or attempt to hit Reeves.

Reeves’ defense team argues that Reeves shot Oulson because he feared for his life. They said Oulson threw his phone at Reeves and appeared ready to hit Reeves. But even as Reeves’ own wife took the stand, she said she didn’t see a punch or a cell phone thrown.

Related: Witnesses Take the Stand in Movie Theater Shooting Case, Including Chad Oulson’s Widow   

Shooter’s Family Takes the Stand

On Monday, February 21, 2022, Curtis Reeves’ wife, Vivian Reeves took the stand to share what she saw while sitting next to her husband in the movie theater that day.

Her story aligns with much of what other witnesses from the theater said. There was an altercation. Oulson stood up, turned around to face Curtis Reeves, and was shot.

Vivian Reeves’ story does include more detail about what she heard from Oulson. She said she heard Oulson use “foul and ugly language” when Curtis Reeves asked him to turn off his phone. The incident began when Curtis Reeves told Oulson to stop using his phone. Oulson was texting his daughter’s child care to check on her as the movie previews played.

Vivian Reeves says she was “terrified” during the encounter, but she says she didn’t see Oulson attempt to punch her husband or throw a phone at him.

Vivian Reeves’ testimony comes after Reeves’ two adult children took the stand last week.

Matthew Reeves, Reeves’ son who is also a police officer, was at the scene moments after his father shot Oulson. He was meeting his parents for the midday movie. He walked in during the middle of the confrontation and heard the gunshot. He testified that he moved to Oulson and immediately began to put pressure on his wound.

Reeves’ daughter, Jennifer Shaw, also took the stand. Shaw wasn’t there on the day of the shooting, but she testified that her father had begun to slow down as he experienced health issues leading up to the shooting. Her testimony seemed to be designed to paint Curtis Reeves as weakening as he aged, although Reeves had been on a hunting trip just days before the shooting.

Related: Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case To Finally Start Trial 8 Years Later

Seeking Justice for the Oulson Family

TJ Grimaldi has been standing with Chad Oulson’s wife, Nicole, throughout the trial and the last eight years leading up to the state’s prosecution of Curtis Reeves.

He recently spoke with Morning in America about his views on the trial so far and what he hopes to see as a just outcome for the Oulson family.

Grimaldi says that due to Curtis Reeves’ experience as a chief of police, he should have been able to manage the argument with Oulson without it resulting in a shooting.

“He should know how to deescalate a situation instead of making one worse,” Grimaldi says.

Grimaldi is also frustrated the case took so long to make it to trial. “The defense team from day one realized that any time in prison was basically a life sentence or death sentence for this gentleman because of his age. They’ve done everything in their power to delay this case from day one,’ he says.

Now, Grimaldi hopes and believes the jury will get the verdict right. In fact, he thinks the jury must get it right, not just for the Oulson family but for society as a whole.

When considering if the case could end in a not guilty verdict, Grimaldi said, “They have to make sure they get this right. It could set some very terrible precedent.”

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

What’s Next for the Reeves Case?

The trial of Curtis Reeves is expected to last another week. It is unclear at this time if Reeves will take the stand. Reeves is facing charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder. If he is found guilty on both charges, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.

If you or someone you know is involved in a legal matter, contact the offices of TJ Grimaldi. Talk directly with TJ about how he and his team can help you get the justice you deserve. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023 today.

Witnesses Take the Stand in Movie Theater Shooting Case, Including Chad Oulson’s Widow

Eight years after Nicole Oulson watched her husband get shot and killed during the previews of a mid-day movie date, she was finally able to take the stand and share her story in court.

Testimony finally started in the Curtis Reeves movie theater “stand your ground” case.

Curtis Reeves is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder. On January 13, 2014, Reeves fired one shot in a movie theater that wounded Nicole Oulson and killed her husband, Chad Oulson.

The theater was filled with witnesses who have started to take the stand in a trial that took eight long years to make it to court. The first witness was Chad’s wife, who was sitting next to her husband the day he lost his life.

Related: Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case To Finally Start Trial 8 Years Later

Nicole Oulson Takes the Stand

Nicole Oulson waited eight long years to share her story of what happened on that terrible January afternoon. While the state is prosecuting the criminal case against Curtis Reeves, attorney TJ Grimaldi has been by the side of Nicole Oulson throughout the years, helping her prepare for her long-awaited day in court.

“While going through a trial forces her to relive this situation, that she would rather forget, she can’t wait for the day that justice is served, Curtis Reeves is found guilty and spends the rest of his natural life in prison paying for his crimes,” Grimaldi said.

On day five of the trial, Nicole Oulson took the stand for several hours sharing details of what she experienced on January 13, 2014. Nicole Oulson was sitting next to her husband Chad Oulson and witnessed the entire incident. She was also shot by Curtis Reeves.

In the moment before the shot, Chad stood up to exchange words with Reeves. Nicole also stood up and put her left hand on her husband’s chest to guide him to sit back down. At that moment, Reeves fired the gun. The bullet went through part of Nicole Oulson’s hand before hitting her husband in the chest and fatally wounding him.

“It felt like my hand was on fire. It felt like my hand was blown off,” Nicole Oulson said during her testimony. “He took a couple of steps and then collapsed. I knew he was way worse than me.”

While on the stand, Nicole also described the events that led up to the shooting and testified that she didn’t agree with many of the defense’s opening statements about the incident.

The defense stated that Chad Oulson was loud and cursing. Nicole said the characterization wasn’t true. The defense said that Chad Oulson stepped over the seat to get closer to Reeves who was sitting behind them. Nicole also said the statement was untrue. She said Chad Oulson only stood a few moments before being shot.

While on the stand, Nicole described Reeves as rude in the moments leading up to the shooting. Reeves is said to have started interacting with Nicole and Chad Oulson while Chad was using his phone to text their child’s babysitter during the previews of the movie. Reeves went to complain to theater management before coming back and shooting Oulson after the two exchanged words.

Nicole Oulson said, “It was rude. It was demanding. It was like an order. No excuse me, or would you mind? It was just matter of fact, you need to do this.”

On the day Nicole Oulson testified, TJ Grimaldi, described the day in court, “an intense day for sure.”

“Nicole is doing a great job walking the jury through this painful day. It is a slow-moving process but so far I believe the state is doing a great job,” he said.

Related: Jury Selection Finally Begins in Curtis Reeves Movie Theater Shooting Trial

What’s Next In the Reeves’ Trial?

The sixth day of the trial started with testimony from a man who was in the theater in the same row as Nicole and Chad Oulson. He testified that he witnessed much of the commotion that happened both before and after the shooting, and agreed with many of Nicole Outson’s characterizations of the events. He is just one of the people expected to testify about what they saw in the theater that day.

Testimony will continue over the next week and possibly continue into the next week. Dozens of witnesses have been listed for trial, but it is unclear how many more people will take the stand.

The trial is scheduled to last for another two weeks.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

Seeking Justice for Chad Oulson

If convicted, Reeves faces life in prison.

TJ Grimaldi is proud to stand by Chad Oulson’s wife, Nicole throughout this lengthy legal battle and looks forward to finally seeing justice served.

To see how TJ Grimaldi could help represent you in court, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation to talk directly to TJ. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023 today.

Jury Selection Finally Begins in Curtis Reeves Movie Theater Shooting Trial

More than eight years after a trip to the movie theater led to the death of Chad Oulson, the man who shot and killed Oulson is finally going to see his day in court.

Jury selection has finally begun in the Curtis Reeves case.

What Led to the Trial?

On January 13, 2014, Chad Oulson and his wife, Nicole went to a movie at Grove 16 theater in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Behind them sat retired Tampa police captain, Curtis Reeves and his wife, Vivian.

During the previews, Chad Oulson used his phone to text his daughter’s daycare. This activity annoyed Curtis Reeves, who went to complain to theater staff. Upon his return to the theater, Reeves and Oulson exchanged words. Oulson threw popcorn on Reeves. Reeves pulled out a gun and fired a shot that wounded Nicole Oulson and killed Chad Oulson.

For eight years, Reeves has avoided going to trial for the shooting.

Reeves and his legal team tried to dismiss the case, arguing that it fell under Florida’s stand your ground law. The motion was denied, but it led to appeals, which pushed the case to the  2nd District Court of Appeal. Changing laws caused the case to be delayed further as legal teams waited for a Florida Supreme Court decision regarding rules on burden of proof in stand your ground cases.

All efforts to dismiss the case were denied, and the case is now ready to go to trial — but it took eight years which can lead to some challenges.

Related: Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case To Finally Start Trial 8 Years Later

The Challenge with Jury Selection

In the eight years since Reeves shot and killed Oulson in a Florida movie theater, it’s been difficult to avoid the story in the news. The many appeals, controversial nature of the case, and long timeline have made it a top news story, even gaining national media attention.

The public exposure can make jury selection in the case difficult.

For the case, 250 East Pasco residents were summoned for jury duty. They will be broken into groups of 50 who will be seen over five days of jury selection.

The first day of jury selection, which took place on February 7, 2022, was an indicator that finding an impartial jury could be difficult. When asked if they knew about the case, most jurors raised their hand, according to reporting by the Tampa Bay Times.

During questioning of the first ten jurors, one said, ”I just feel like he shot a guy, and if you kill someone, that’s murder. He’s already guilty.” The juror was dismissed.

Eight of the next nine jurors gave answers that were similar. When jurors are familiar with a case before the trial begins, the judge must question them to determine if they are unbiased and able to serve on the jury.

From the 250 potential jurors, the case will need six jurors who the court believes can hear the case and make a fair judgment based on what they hear in court, not what they hear in the news.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

What’s at Stake?

When the six jurors are selected, they will sit for a trial which is expected to take three weeks.

They will decide if Reeves is guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder.

If found guilty, the 79-year-old Reeves faces life in prison.

Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon is a third-degree felony in Florida. It carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison or five years probation and a $5,000 fine. When a firearm is discharged, as it was in this case, the penalties can increase to up to 20 years in prison.

Second-degree murder is a first-degree felony in Florida. It carries a potential penalty of life in prison, life on probation, and a $10,000 fine. Under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, a person may be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison if a firearm is used to commit second-degree murder.

Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

Pushing for a Fair Trial and Justice

TJ Grimaldi is standing by the side of Chad Oulson’s wife, Nicole to see that the trial is fair and leads to the maximum punishment for Reeves.

While the state is prosecuting the criminal case, Grimaldi is representing Nicole Oulson to ensure that justice is found for her husband and the father of her daughter.

“Curtis Reeves should have de-escalated the situation. But instead, all he did was make things worse, and continue to make things worse, even after leaving the theater and coming back when it was basically done and decided to shoot someone over popcorn,” Grimaldi says.

Protect Yourself in a Public Case

Cases that take place in the courtroom and the court of public opinion come with unique challenges. If you are involved with a case that has drawn public interest, work with an attorney who has experience with high-profile cases and knows how to manage the media and legal process through your public case.

Talk to TJ Grimaldi to see how he can use his experience to protect you during a high-profile legal case. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023 today.

Stand Your Ground Changes Have Wide Impact

A recent court decision has put the controversial “stand your ground” law back under the microscope. Passed in Florida in 2005, the law changes traditional self-defense guidelines immensely. “Stand your ground” eliminates the responsibility to retreat from dangerous situations and authorizes individuals to forcefully defend themselves to “prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” Since it’s passing there has been debate over consequences and convictions, and now, more concerns are surfacing.

A 2017 amendment reversing the burden of proof, is the origin of a state-wide disagreement. Originally, the burden of proof, or responsibility to prove one’s claim, was left to the defense. However, the amendment now leaves it up to the prosecution to refute a “stand your ground” claim. One contentious question that arises from this change is whether the change can be applied retroactively to active cases. Not all courts agree, as the Second District Court of Appeals has decided to apply the rule retroactively to various cases in Hillsborough and Pinellas County, while the Third District Court of Appeals, located in Miami, has deemed the amendment unconstitutional and has decided not to apply it retroactively.

These conflicting decisions mean that the final decision on retroactive application rests with the Florida Supreme Court; a process that could take as long as a year. Until the Florida Supreme Court reaches a decision, each district will handle cases as their district court has directed. In the meantime, there is a lot of uncertainty amongst defendants, victims, defense attorneys and prosecutors.

One of the first cases to apply the amended law is the Pinellas County trial of Bobby Ryan. Accused of taking part in a fight in 2016 that turned fatal, Ryan claimed a “stand your ground” defense under the new rules and prevailed. Although the charges against Mr. Ryan were dismissed, the Attorney General’s Office has appealed the decision because they do not believe that the law should be applied retroactively to crimes committed before June 9, 2017. While his case is under appeal, Mr. Ryan has cited great uncertainty for himself and his family as his fate is once again in the hands of the courts.

In Hillsborough County, Tymothy Ray Martin was previously convicted of felony battery against his girlfriend. He unsuccessfully attempted a “stand your ground” defense and was convicted. Martin’s attorneys appealed the conviction on the grounds that the amended law should apply to his case. The Second District Court of Appeals agreed, and Mr. Martin will get a second shot at a “stand-your-ground” defense.

Cases such as Martin’s raise concerns from both victims and prosecutors. Retrying cases that have already been decided carry heavy costs to the prosecution as time and expense must be allocated to retrying cases. Additionally, the necessity of reliving trials and the possibility of reversals can be very painful to victims.

Those in Pasco County are particularly curious about the long-standing case of retired Tampa police captain, Curtis Reeves. Reeves has been awaiting trial since he shot and killed Chad Oulson in a movie theatre in 2014, claiming a “stand your ground” defense. The judge did rule against him, rejecting his “stand your ground” defense. Unsurprisingly, his lawyers appealed the decision. Now, with the amendment in place, prosecutors, defenders and family members alike are unsure of what this means for Reeves or the Oulson family.

The decision of the Second District Court of Appeals impacts everyone involved in the case. For Curtis Reeves, the more time passes, the more time he will live free of any consequences for his actions. Oulson family attorney TJ Grimaldi stated, “An opportunity for a second chance at a stand your ground defense can only be seen as a win for Mr. Reeves and his attorneys.”

For the widow of Chad Oulson, this waiting game only adds to the suffering she experienced by losing her husband. Waiting for these decisions means anxiously anticipating another potential hearing, and more importantly, further delaying justice.

The individuals from the cases highlighted above are not the only ones who will be directly affected by this conflict. The uncertainty the amendment creates can be costly to the state itself and its citizens, and especially painful for both defendants and victims. It also impacts the dockets which will be pushed back for both the state and defense attorneys to focus on cases they had deemed done. The debate over this amendment is causing statewide chaos and is ultimately doing more harm than good. If you have any further questions, comments or concerns please comment below.

Tampa Bay Times: Widow’s attorney complains of delays in ‘stand your ground’ theater shooting case

attorney_tj_grimaldiAttorney and partner TJ Grimaldi of McIntyre Thanasides was featured in the Tampa Bay Times’ latest news story regarding updates to the highly controversial Curtis Reeves’ Stand Your Ground case.



T.J. Grimaldi, who represents Nicole Oulson, was reacting to a suggestion that Reeves might qualify for another chance at a self-defense claim under Florida’s retooled “stand your ground” law, after having been turned down once.

“I am almost at a loss for words over the constant unnecessary delays in this case,” Grimaldi wrote to the Tampa Bay Times.

“While sitting in the status hearing the other day, it was painfully transparent that the defense is delaying this case for two hopeful outcomes: one, force the prosecutors to provide a plea deal; or two, wait for Mr. Reeves to become frail and/or too sick to stand trial.”

Nearly four years have passed since a confrontation over a mobile phone at the Cobb Grove 16 cinemas ended in gunfire, killing Chad Oulson. His widow sued the theater, and Grimaldi represents her in that case.

Additionally, Reeves, 75, faces a second-degree murder trial.

To read the full story, click here.