Dunkin’ Donuts worker who fatally punched customer for using racial slur is sentenced to house arrest

Aggravated assault charge dropped as part of plea deal

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 09 March 2022 18:25 GMT
Corey Pujols
Corey Pujols (Tampa Police Department )
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A former Dunkin’ Donuts employee who killed a customer with a single punch for calling him a racial slur has been sentenced to two years of house arrest.

Corey Pujols, 27, will also complete 200 hours of community service and attend an anger management course after pleading guilty to felony battery under a deal with prosecutors in Hillsborough County, Florida.

Pujols was originally charged with aggravated assault for the death of a 77-year-old customer in May 2021 who prosecutors said called the Dunkin’s worker a racial slur twice.

Police said the white customer, Vonelle Cook, became abusive and called Pujols the N-word after walking into the store to complain about customer service.

He then “repeated the racial slur, and Pujols immediately punched him in the jaw, which caused the victim to fall and hit his head,” police alleged. “The victim died three days later from his injuries.”

Prosecutors from the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office told The Independent that Pujols accepted a plea deal ahead of the court hearing on Monday, and that “this outcome holds the defendant accountable while considering the totality of the circumstances”.

Grayson Kamm, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, said that included “the aggressive approach and despicable racial slur used by the victim, along with the defendant’s age, lack of criminal record, and lack of intent to cause the victim’s death”.

It remains unclear if Pujols, who was previously released on a $15,000 (£13,000) bond, is still employed by Dunkin’ Donuts.The Independent has contacted the firm for comment.

The attorney office’s said Pujols will also be subject to a nightly curfew and supervision for five years, while reports suggest an autopsy on Mr Cook found his death to be the result of a skull fracture after falling during the altercation.

As Fox13 reported, Mr Cook was “regularly troublesome and abusive” towards employees at the Dunkin’ location at 410 South 50 Street in Tampa.

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