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Former Punta Gorda cop to stand trial in Charlotte County

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CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FL (WWSB)-  A former Punta Gorda Police Officer charged with manslaughter, will not get a change of venue.

Lee Coel is facing manslaughter charges in the shooting death of 73 year old Mary Knowlton in August of 2016 during a police civilian training class.  Coel's attorney  filed three motions to have the trial moved to Ft. Lauderdale due to the media attention the case received.  

On Tuesday, a judge denied the various change of venue requests.  No trial date has been set in the case.  The former Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis was also charged in the case with culpable negligence, but a jury acquitted him of those charges.   Shortly after, Lewis was terminated from his position as Chief of Police.

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