After eight years of waiting for her husband’s killer to see his day in court, Nicole Oulson not only sat face-to-face with the man who pulled the trigger, but she also took the stand, explaining in her own words what happened back on January 13, 2014.
Monday morning started with strong opening statements from both sides of Curtis Reeves’ murder trial as prosecutors and the defense explained their argument for the role that Reeves played in the shooting death of Chad Oulson.
Nicole recalled what it was like to watch her husband die.
“I see his eyes were just glazed over and I knew at that moment,” she explained. “I told him, ‘Chad, we need you, please hang in there, we need you.’”
She said Chad was quietly scrolling on his phone before the movie started when Reeves leaned forward and told him to put the phone away. Nicole said her husband may have been waiting for a message from their daughter’s preschool.
Everyone agrees that Reeves pulled the trigger in that Wesley Chapel movie theater, but both sides had different reasons as to why. The defense said he was in fear for his life and shooting Oulson was self-defense, but the prosecution said it was because Reeves was angry Chad wouldn’t get off his phone.
When Chad Oulson did not put the phone away, Reeves left to get theater management. When he came back, she says her husband had put his phone away. However, the argument continued to escalate.
Nicole testified that when Reeves came back, he said to Chad, “‘I see you put your phone away now that I went to get management.'”
She said her husband responded with the sentiment of, “what’s your problem?” but did not become aggressive.
“What were you thinking?” the prosecutor asked.
“Why is this still going on? The phone was away. This should be over,” Nicole testified.
She said the next few seconds went by quickly. Despite that, attorneys made her recall it, second by second, having her stand near a poster where a photo of the theater seats leaned on an easel for the jury to see.
She says she didn’t see the moment that Oulson threw popcorn on Reeves, nor any other aggression until that fatal shot. She says she was trying to tap her husband to get him to turn around, and that’s when Reeves fired. But the defense argued that as a retired police captain, Reeves would be able to recognize a dangerous situation.
Nicole was also hit in the hand after Reeves fired that shot inside the theater. She said as soon as it happened, she knew her husband was not OK.
The jury saw graphic images of Nicole Oulson’s injured hand, with her left ring finger nearly severed after the bullet went through it. She was asked to stand and show the jury her “disfigured” hand, years after the shooting, with scars from surgeries she said she had to undergo to repair the damage.
Now, the defense says that contrary to previous testimony, Oulson did more than just throw popcorn at Reeves. They say he also jabbed him and threw his phone at him
There are still a lot of questions jurors need answers to before any verdict can be made. Tuesday, the jury is expected to hear from more witnesses who were inside the theater at the time of the deadly shooting and can provide additional insight into what happened.