Wesley Chapel, Florida -- Will surveillance video taken during last month's deadly shooting inside a Wesley Chapel movie theater be released to the public?
That was the question during a hearing today in Dade City.
Prosecutors handed Curtis Reeves' defense team a hard drive containing surveillance video taken inside the Cobb 16 movie theater where Chad Oulson was shot and killed last month.
The judge called it Reeves' fundamental right to review the video ahead of a bond hearing tomorrow.
Judge Pat Siracusa said, "He's now been held in custody without bond for more than 20 days, and this is America. We have the right to see the evidence that's going to be used against us."
Prosecutors who have seen the video describe it as dark and grainy with no sound.
The people on it are difficult to identify. When asked if it was graphic, the answer was, "No." But Reeves' defense lawyers still want the video kept from being made public.
Richard Escobar, Reeves' defense lawyer, said, "We've gotta try this case in court. Not with the media."
The judge said he'll rule tomorrow whether to release the images. In court, media lawyers argued doing so would not prejudice potential jurors.
Rachel Fugate, a media attorney, said, "The facts are what they are. And that's what the video will show."
The court made a point of asking Oulson's widow, Nicole, how she feels about releasing the video.
"You know he doesn't have to do that, but that makes it very sincere, and very nice," said Nicole Oulson.
But ultimately, say Oulson's civil lawyers, they support whatever prosecutors decide. In their opinion, whatever the video shows, "There's no reason for it to go from where it was to murder. There's just - there's no question about that," said TJ Grimaldi, Oulson's civil attorney.
There is a second video which was taken in the common areas of the Cobb 16 that fateful Mondayafternoon.
That video does not seem to be as much of an issue.
Tomorrow's bond hearing is expected to take several hours.
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