Former police officer’s trial moved to Lee County

Published: Jul. 11, 2019 at 11:27 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A former Punta Gorda police officer charged with manslaughter has been granted a change of venue to Lee County.

Lee Coel is charged in the 2016 shooting death of 73-year-old Mary Knowlton. It happened during a civilian training course at the Punta Gorda Police Department.

Coel fired a gun he thought had blanks in it. Instead it was loaded with bullets.

His lawyers asked the judge to move the trial to a different county because prospective jurors could have been exposed to negative comments on social media about Coel.

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