071111 Boston, MA)Dunkin Donuts store.(Monday,July 11, 2011). Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

Source: MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images / Getty

Corey Pujols, a 27-year-old Dunkin’ Donuts manager from Tampa, FL has been sentenced to two years of house arrest after he fatally punched an elderly man last year for calling him a racial slur. He will must complete 200 hours of community service, attend anger management classes, and serve probation for three additional years after he completes his house arrest.

In May 2021, Pujols (who is Black) was working at the shop when 77-year-old Vonelle Cook (who is white) entered the store and repeatedly called Pujols the N-word to vent his frustration with their customer service. According the prosecutors, Pujols “warned the victim not to say that again.” Instead, Cook stepped up his efforts and said it more, so “Pujols immediately punched him in the jaw, which caused the victim to fall and hit his head.” Cook died three days later.

Pujols was charged with aggravated manslaughter when the incident occurred. He was receptive to a deal four months later and decided to face the the lesser charge of felony battery, to which he pled guilty.

“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,” said Grayson Kamm, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office told Tampa Bay’s FOX 13.

Cook was known to be “regularly troublesome and abusive” to the Dunkin’ employees, according to a statement from Kamm. Furthermore, the septuagenarian was a registered sex offender who arrested in 2006 and convicted on various charges, such as “child abuse, possession of child pornography and sexual activity with minors.”

Kenneth Cook, the deceased’s younger sibling, is upset with the outcome. He told the New York Times his big brother was just “a frail old man” who had trouble getting around but considered his regular visits to the local Dunkin’ as one of the highlights of his day.

Rather than two years of house arrest and community service, the younger Cook felt Pujols should have been given five years in prison followed by another half-decade of probation. “I thought that’s a fair deal for taking a man’s life,” he said.