Ex-Dunkin’ Donuts Worker Gets House Arrest For Punch That Killed Racist Customer

27-year-old Corey Pujols punched 77-year-old Vonelle Cook after he called him a racial slur. The punch was a fatal blow.

March 11, 2022
Corey Pujols (l) was sentenced to two years of house arrest for a fatal punch against Vonelle Cook (r), a customer who used a racial slur.

Corey Pujols (l) was sentenced to two years of house arrest for a fatal punch against Vonelle Cook (r), a customer who used a racial slur.

Photo by: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office & Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office & Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Corey Pujols, a 27-year-old Dunkin’ Donuts employee, punched a customer who used a racist slur while complaining about the service he’d received. The single punch was a fatal blow to 77-year-old Vonelle Cook.

Cook was a regular customer at the Dunkin’ Donuts. He had originally been asked to leave due to his extreme rudeness when he came through the drive-thru. However, instead of leaving, Cook parked, went inside the store, and began arguing with the young employee.

This was apparently far from Cook’s worst behavior. According to BET, Cook was a registered sex offender who previously had pictures and DVDs of naked boys confiscated from his home.

Cook called Pujols, who is Black, the N-word, according to the criminal affidavit report. Pujols challenged Cook to repeat the slur. When the man once again called him the N-word, Pujols delivered the fatal punch to the older man’s jaw. The police statement revealed, "This knocked the victim out and the victim fell to the floor with his head hitting the floor.”

Cook then started bleeding from his head. Soon after he fell, he was taken to a hospital for treatment. He arrived in critical condition with multiple contusions in his brain and a skull fracture from the blunt trauma to his head.

Pujols was arrested at his home in Tampa, Florida, later that day, and he was then released from a Hillsborough County jail. He was arrested once again after Cook died a few days later.

Pujols was originally charged with manslaughter, but prosecutors felt that his intentions weren’t murderous. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Grayson Kamm, a spokesman for Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, said prosecutors considered the “totality of the circumstances.” Part of that was considering that Pujols was only 27 years old and had no previous record.

So, 10 months after Cook died, Pujols was able to plead guilty to a reduced charge of felony battery. He was sentenced to two years of house arrest that is to be followed by three years of probation. He must also participate in an anger management course and complete 200 hours of community service.

A Dunkin' spokesperson said the company is deeply saddened by the incident that occurred on May 4, 2021. “The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, is fully cooperating with the local authorities. As this is an ongoing investigation, we defer any additional questions to the police.”

Next Up

Neighbor Rings Florida Family's Doorbell While Armed, Wearing Bulletproof Vest

He called Kevin Flaherty “strange" and added that his family has tried their best to avoid him.

Four Teens Arrested For Attempted Murder After Allegedly Running Over Florida Mom

A mother is in critical condition and four teens are facing attempted felony murder charges after a dispute escalated into violence.

Police Arrest Woman Who Falsely Accused Black Teen Of Stealing Her iPhone

Miya Ponsetto allegedly tackled jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold’s son to the ground during the confrontation.

How Boxer Christy Martin Had To Fight To Save Her Own Life

Christy Martin was a breakout star in women’s boxing, but the greatest fight of her life was the fight to save herself.

Florida Police Search For Sword-Wielding Suspect Who Allegedly Attacked Jogger

The two men were arguing over an item found in the trash, authorities said.

Woman Stabs Husband After Dreaming He Was ‘Messing Around,’ Police Say

Lindsey Stephens faces domestic aggravated assault charges for the alleged early-morning attack.

Mother Accused of Assaulting Her Children Over Not Wearing Face Masks

The three Arizona kids recently had tested positive for coronavirus, according to police.

Mother Brutally Attacked Inside Home, Search Continues For Suspect

Investigators need tips in this case to identify the unknown suspect. Rose Zolman is a single mother of a 2-year-old child.

Police Arrest Man For Stealing Food, Chasing McDonald’s Manager With Chainsaw

“It seemed like a scene out of a movie or something,” one eyewitness says of the incident