A Dunkin’ employee accused of fatally punching a 77-year-old customer who used a racial slur against him has been sentenced to two years of house arrest on Monday, March. 7, after pleading guilty to felony battery.

Corey Pujols, 27, was charged with manslaughter after fatally punching 77-year-old Vonelle Cook to death on May 4, 2021, after the victim reportedly used a derogatory racial slur against him.

Nine months since the violent incident, Pujols has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of felony battery and was sentenced to two years of house arrest followed by three years of probation. He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and attend an anger management course, New York Daily News reported.

Cook, 77, was reportedly a regular customer at the Dunkin’ branch located at 410 S 50th Street in the Palm River area. On May 4, 2021, just before 1:30 p.m., Cook showed up at the drive-thru line and tried to order coffee.

After Dunkin’ employees had trouble hearing him, he then began to berate them about poor service. As Cook increasingly became verbally abusive, the personnel at the store asked him to leave. However, he proceeded to park his car and walked inside the establishment.

Pujols, who was standing at the counter, asked a coworker to call the police upon seeing Cook enter the store. The elderly man then approached the counter and continued to argue with Pujols. When Cook began spewing the n-word, Pujols walked up to him and warned him not to repeat it.

After the undaunted Cook said the racial slur again, Pujols punched Cook in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. The racist customer reportedly lost consciouness after he hit his head against the floor. Cook was hospitalized following the incident but died three days later, on May 7, 2021, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Grayson Kamm, who serves as a spokesman for Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, said that the prosecutors considered Pujols’ youth, his lack of criminal history, and the fact that he did not intend to cause Cook’s death into consideration before landing on the final verdict. The prosecutors also considered Cook’s behavior and what he said.

Meanwhile, a background check on Cook revealed that he is a registered sex offender who served prison time and was released in 2011. Cook was previously accused of luring teenage boys into his home using comic books, candy, and video games to film pornographic videos, including one in which he recorded himself performing sex acts on a 16-year-old boy.

Dunkin' Donuts logo
A logo of Dunkin' Donuts is pictured outside its store on April 26, 2021 in Utrecht, Netherlands. Photo by Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images

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