Corey Pujols, a manager at Dunkin’ Donuts in Tampa, Fl., was sentenced to two years of house arrest after pleading guilty to felony battery.
Pujols, a 27-year-old Black man, fatally punched a customer who shouted a racial slur at him during a heated exchange on May 4, 2021.
According to court records, an angry Vonelle Cook entered the coffee and donuts drive-thru store and immediately began complaining about customer service.
Police later revealed that the 77-year-old was a frequent nuisance. He often came into the store after employees stated that they had trouble hearing him through the drive-thru window.
Vonelle Cook was also a registered sex offender in Tampa, Fl. He previously made headlines in 2006 after a police raid of his home found a surveillance camera mounted to his bed. They also recovered boxes of homemade DVDs containing videos and photographs of young nude boys.
He served prison time after the raid and was released in 2011, according to Tampa authorities.
Berating customers for not being able to hear him outside, he was asked to leave before entering the coffee and donuts store on May 4, 2021.
Dunkin’ manager Corey Pujols then asked Vonelle Cook to leave the store once more, which he refused. Pujols told another employee to call the police, court records stated, which further upset the angry customer.
After being called the N-word, Corey Pujols walked around the counter and told Cook to not call him that. Repeating the racial slur, Cook was then struck in the jaw by Pujols, forcing him to hit the floor by force on impact.
An autopsy later revealed that he suffered from a skull fracture and brain contusions, CBS News reported, and he died three days later in the local hospital.
None of Vonelle Cook’s family members spoke at the hearing trial for Corey Pujols’ felony assault, where the 27-year-old Dunkin’ manager was being tried for manslaughter. The assault was later adjusted to felony battery.
He was sentenced to complete 200 hours of community service and attend an anger management course, along with two years of house arrest.
Grayson Kamm, a spokesman for State Attorney Andrew Warren, stated that the “totality of the circumstances” was considered in his sentencing, including Pujols’ clean record and Cook’s vile behavior.
“Two of the primary factors were the aggressive approach the victim took toward the defendant and everyone working with the defendant,” Kamm told the Tampa Bay Times.
He also stated that “the victim repeatedly used possibly the most aggressive and offensive term in the English language.”
Pujols’ attorney, Darrin Johnson, did not provide a comment following the sentencing. His client responded that he understood his plea, but spoke very little throughout the hearing.
It remains unclear if Pujols is still employed by the Dunkin’ Donuts at 410 South 50 Street in Tampa, according to The Independent.
He will also have to be subjected to a nightly curfew and five years of supervision.
Corey Pujols did not comment to the press regarding his sentencing.