A Florida Dunkin’ employee accused of fatally punching a customer who used a racist slur against him pleaded guilty to felony battery and was sentenced to two years of house arrest. A Tampa judge on Monday also ordered Corey Pujols, 27, to complete 200 hours of community service and attend an anger management course.
Vonelle Cook was irate when he entered the Dunkin’ store last May and began yelling about customer service, police and prosecutors said. When Pujols, who is Black, asked him to leave, Cook called him a racial slur, and Pujols punched him.
Cook, 77, fell to the floor and knocked his head. He died three days later.
Pujols was initially charged with manslaughter.
In agreeing to a plea deal, prosecutors considered the “totality of the circumstances,” including Pujols’ youth, his lack of criminal history and the fact that he did not intend to cause Cook’s death, Grayson Kamm, a spokesman for Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, told the Tampa Bay Times. He said they also considered the behavior of Cook and what he said.
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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press