A Black Dunkin’ Donuts employee based in Tampa, Florida had confronted an angry customer who was using racial slurs toward him, resulting in a fatal punch to the customer. The employee, Corey Pujols, has pleaded guilty to felony battery and has been sentenced to two years of house arrest, reported CBS News.
Vonelle Cook, 77, was reportedly a regular at this particular Dunkin’ store. According to the court records obtained by NBC, Cook went to order a coffee in the drive-thru and he began berating the employees for poor service after they said they were having trouble hearing him.
He was asked to leave, but he parked his car and went inside the store.
When Cook appeared inside the store, Pujols asked a coworker to call police. Prosecutors said Cook began arguing with Pujols. Once Cook said the racial slur, Pujols walked around the counter and told him not to say that again. When he repeated it, Pujols hit him in the jaw and Cook fell to the floor.
An autopsy said he suffered a skull fracture and brain contusions.
Cook died three days later from his injuries, as reported by CBS. Pujols was originally charged with manslaughter however, prosecutors found Pujols did not have intentions of killing Cook considering his youth and lack of a criminal record.
“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,” said Grayson Kamm, a spokesperson for Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, via Tampa Bay Times.
A Tampa judge sentenced Corey Pujols to two years of house arrest and ordered 200 hours of community service and an anger management course.