Tampa, Florida. – A Tampa donut shop worker accused of punching and killing a customer for racial slur against him will serve two years of house arrest after pleading guilty to a crime.
On Monday, the judge also ordered former Dunkin’ employee Cory Pujols, 27, to complete 200 hours of community service and attend an anger management course.
Pujols was initially charged with premeditated murder after the May 5, 2021 incident at the Dunkin’ location at 410 South 50 Street in Tampa.
Investigators said the victim, 77-year-old Funil Kok, had passed through the car and was angry about the lack of service. Then he parked his car and entered the restaurant, screaming for customer service.
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Staff said Cook was a frequent customer and described him as “regularly annoying and abusive,” a statement from the attorney general’s office noted.
When Cook walked into the restaurant on May 5, 2021, prosecutors said he was aggressive and verbally abusive toward the staff and Pujols.
When Bogols, who is Black, asked Cook to leave, the police said Cook called him “The”.
Pujols told Cook never to call him racial slur again. When Cook did, Pujols punched him in the jaw, causing the man to fall and causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground.
Tampa Fire Rescue responded and transported Cook to the hospital, where he died three days later.
Prosecutors accepted a plea bargain from Pujols, who agreed to change his guilty plea to a lesser felony charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
“This finding holds the defendant responsible considering the entirety of the circumstances — the aggressive approach and hateful racial slur used by the victim, along with the defendant’s age, lack of criminal record, and no intent to cause the victim’s death,” said Grayson Cam, a spokesperson for the state attorney’s office. Hillsborough in a statement to FOX 13.
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Prosecutors said it was important that there be consequences for Pujols’ actions, but took into account Cook’s abusive behavior, his “very disturbing criminal history” and prison time, which they said made him an “unsympathetic victim.”
Court records show that Cook was a registered sex offender.
According to the autopsy, Cook sustained a skull fracture and brain bruising from the fall.
Darren Johnson, Pujols’ attorney, declined to comment after the hearing.