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News Story
Updated: 01/12/2018 08:30:02AM

Former Punta Gorda Police officer headed for June trial

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By ANNE EASKER

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The former Punta Gorda Police officer who fatally shot retired citizen Mary Knowlton is likely to face a week-long trial in June.

Lee Coel, 29, was charged with manslaughter for his role in the 2016 tragedy. Coel participated in a role-playing exercise put on by the Punta Gorda Police Department in which he played the “bad guy” in a shoot/don’t shoot scenario for the Chamber of Commerce. Believing his gun was loaded with blanks, Coel instead shot live wadcutter rounds at Knowlton, who died on the way to the hospital.

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