Dunkin Employee Sentenced on Reduced Charge for Fatal Punch of Customer Who Used Racist Slur Against Him

The incident made headlines last summer, with the customer in question later identified as a man who was a registered sex offender in the region.

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A Dunkin employee has been sentenced on a reduced count after previously being charged with manslaughter in connection with the fatal punch of a customer who used a racist slur against him.

An Associated Press report this week revealed that 27-year-old Corey Pujols of Florida has pleaded guilty to felony battery and been sentenced to two years of house arrest. Per the report, Pujols—who was a Dunkin employee at the time of the initial May 2021 incident (see above)—will also be required to complete 200 hours of community service, as well as participate in an anger management course.

A regional report from the Tampa Bay Times provides more context, with the publication detailing that registered sex offender and “irate customer” Vonelle Cook, 77, first went through the drive-thru to place an order, with employees informing him that they were having a difficult time hearing him on the system.

At this point, Cook—who made national headlines in 2006 after being arrested following a police raid of his home—is said to have “began to berate them,” prompting the employees to tell him to leave the establishment. Cook is then said to have parked his vehicle and entered the store, ultimately saying the n-word. When Cook repeated the slur after being told not to do so, Pujols is said to have punched him, at which point he hit his head when falling to the floor. Three days later, Cook (who was sentenced back in ’08 on charges including using a child in a sexual performance) died.

“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,” Grayson Kamm, a spokesperson for Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, told the Times this week of Pujols’ sentencing. 

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