A retired police officer who shot dead a 43-year-old father for texting in a Florida movie theater will have a hard time pushing an insanity defense in the Sunshine State, CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara says.
"When you're looking at a situation where sort of the new wave of road rage is now text rage . . . you have to look at the case and say how did this possibly happen?" O'Mara told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Somebody said that the defense attorney's going to look at this case and try an insanity plea. Well, that doesn't cut it in Florida. Less than 1 percent of insanity cases go anywhere, and this is not an insane act," O'Mara said Tuesday.
"But, having said that . . . maybe there is some mental health issue."
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The violence exploded Monday when Curtis Reeves Jr. fatally shot Chad Oulson with a single bullet to the chest, as Oulson's wife, who was also wounded, watched in horror.
Moments earlier, Reeves, who was sitting behind the couple, confronted Chad Oulson about texting during the coming attractions before the feature film "Lone Survivor."
Later, Oulson purportedly threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves. Reeves reportedly told police he feared he was being attacked and fired one shot from his semiautomatic handgun.
O'Mara, who last year successfully defended George Zimmerman against murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin, said Reeves also won't likely be able to use Florida's "stand your ground" law as a defense.
That defense gives persons the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without having to retreat.
"If he reasonably believed that he was in imminent fear of great bodily injury or death to him, then, and only then, is he allowed to react with deadly force," O'Mara said.
"There is no scenario that has been identified yet, popcorn thrown or not, which would suggest that he had the right to act with deadly force because, one, he could've withdrawn himself; two, there's no evidence that there was any imminent fear of great bodily injury.
"Even if you were to say Florida is a 'stand-your-ground state,' so that if you're confronted with deadly force, you don't need to retreat, you still have to have the initial deadly force before a stand-your-ground suggestion or scenario would kick [in]. None of that, according to any of the facts we've seen so far, gets anywhere close to self-defense."
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