Judge denies request to dismiss shooting case against former Punta Gorda officer

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The case is moving forward against a police officer accused of shooting and killing a beloved librarian.

A judge just denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the case against former Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel—who is accused of shooting and killing Mary Knowlton during a “shoot-don’t-shoot scenario.”

Tensions between attorneys have been escalating, and at one point, the judge reprimanded both sides saying she wouldn’t tolerate any personal attacks. She also told both sides they need to be civil.

Lee Coel didn’t say a word during or after Friday’s hearing.

Judge Margaret Steinbeck denied Coel’s request to dismiss the case. She cited inconsistent testimony from local law enforcement personnel involved in the case.

The defense also slammed the Punta Gorda Police Department. They say the department is withholding more than a terabyte of videos and other evidence of the shooting.

The judge told the prosecution to make sure the police department handed over all the evidence they have.

Jury selection for Coel’s trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 2.

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