Trial set for officer in fatal citizens academy exercise

Crime Scene

A  former Florida police officer who accidentally shot and killed a woman during a citizens academy exercise is going on trial this fall.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that 30-year-old Lee Coel's manslaughter trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 15. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Coel was working for the Punta Gorda Police Department in August 2016 when authorities say he mistakenly shot and killed 73-year-old Mary Knowlton during a role-playing scenario. Coel was fired in March 2017, shortly after being criminally charged.

The city's former police chief had been charged with misdemeanor culpable negligence related to the shooting, but a jury acquitted him in June 2017. He was fired two months later following the city's own investigation.


Information from: Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune,