The 27-year-old quick service restaurant manager reportedly punched the white 77-year-old customer who used racial slurs while serving the man. The elderly irate customer walked into the shop and began to scream complaints of poor service. The employee asked him to leave, but the customer continued his tirade and called the worker the n-word.
The employee, who is Black, stepped from behind a counter and warned him not to say it again. But, the 77-year-old customer, who was white, said it again. The manager punched him. The 77-year-old man died three days later.
The 27-year-old man from Florida, Corey Pujols, has been sentenced to house arrest in a plea deal after fatally punching the 77-year-old customer, Vonelle Cook, who used racial slurs.
Prosecutors said the Dunkin’ worker had initially been charged with aggravated manslaughter. On Monday, 10 months after the fatal punch, the worker copped a plea deal to a reduced charge of felony battery, the New York Post reports.
Prosecutors said the defendant will spend 2 years under house arrest along with serving three years of probation, as well as attending an anger management course and 200 hours of community service, per reports.
On May 4, the 77-year-old customer reportedly criticized the employees for service he was getting at the drive-thru. Employees in turn told him to leave.
Prosecutors said that the victim then entered the store and called Pujols the N-word. Pujols warned him not to repeat it. When Cook did, the manager hit him in the jaw. The punch knocked the 77-year-old man to the floor, where he hit his head. He died three days later.
The Chief Communications Officer of the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, Grayson Kamm, released the following statement:
“This outcome holds the defendant accountable while taking into account the totality of the circumstances—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.
Two of the primary factors were the aggressive approach the victim took toward the defendant and everyone working with the defendant, and that the victim repeatedly used possibly the most aggressive and offensive term in the English language.”