Former Florida Officer Sentenced For Killing Former Austin Woman
Lee County, FL (KROC-AM News) - A former Florida police officer who accidentally killed a former Austin woman has worked a plea agreement that keeps him out of prison.
The Free Press newspaper in Fort Myers Beach, Florida is reporting 30-year-old Lee Coel has entered a no-contest plea to a manslaughter charge for fatally shooting 73-year-old Mary Knowlton while she was participating in a citizen’s police academy sponsored by the Punta Gorda, Florida Police Department in August 2016. The newspaper says she volunteered for a “shoot-don’t shoot” demonstration and Coel fired several bullets from a gun that was supposed to have been loaded with blanks.
The plea deal calls for Coel to serve 10-years on probation and pay Knowlton’s family restitution. He was scheduled to go to trial next week. The Punta Gorda Police Chief was also charged in the case but was acquitted of criminal negligence He and Coel were both fired from their jobs because of their involvement in the fatal incident.