The trial for a former police officer who shot and killed a retired librarian is moving out of Charlotte County
We confirmed Lee Coel’s trial will happen in Lee County, and Judge Margaret Steinbeck of Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit Court order the jury be picked in Lee as well.
Coel, a former Punta Gorda police officer, shot Mary Knowlton during a “shoot, don’t shoot” demonstration in August 2016. Coel thought he loaded the gun with blanks but put real bullets in the gun instead.
Coel’s attorney argued too many people in Charlotte County have been exposed to the case and formed negatives opinions of their client. They still hope to get the trial moved out of Southwest Florida altogether, but Judge Steinbeck has denied those requests so far.
MORE: Former officer accused of manslaughter denied motion to recuse judge
The trial is tentatively scheduled for October 15, but Coel’s attorneys have asked it be moved until the beginning of 2020.
PAST NEWS ON LEE COEL:
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- Ex-Punta Gorda officer charged in shooting seeks disability pension
- Former Punta Gorda officer to appeal his termination
- Officer charged in fatal Punta Gorda citizen’s academy shooting to be fired
- Punta Gorda police chief acquitted in citizens academy shooting death trial