A Florida girl has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars after pleading guilty to intentionally coughing in a most cancers affected person’s face on the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in an interplay caught on video final 12 months.
Debra Jo Hunter, 53, pleaded responsible to misdemeanor assault within the June 25 incident in a Pier 1 retailer on the St. Johns City Middle in Jacksonville, the place she berated retailer workers and coughed on a lady who started filming the incident, WJXT, an independent TV station in Jacksonville reported.
In line with The New York Occasions, a Jacksonville decide sentenced her to 30 days in jail, which cited court docket data.
Hunter can be required to serve six months probation and be topic to a psychological well being analysis and anger administration, in line with an e-mail obtained by the Associated Press.
The sufferer, Heather Sprague, instructed authorities on the time that she started filming as a mask-less Hunter berated retailer employees for not permitting her to return an merchandise she didn’t have in her possession, the TV station reported.
Sprague, who described herself as a mind tumor affected person and was sporting a masks, started recording the heated encounter – prompting Hunter, 53, to make obscene gestures towards her.
“I believe I’ll get actually near you and cough on you then. How’s that?” Hunter, who was not sporting a masks, is heard saying earlier than she is seen coughing on the girl after which strolling out of the shop along with her youngsters.
Sprague later filed a police report, saying she started feeling sick following the incident.
Earlier than sentencing, Hunter — who was dealing with as much as 60 days within the slammer – stated she was not searching for “mercy,” however urged the decide to think about the backlash she’s confronted for the reason that viral episode.
In a three-page letter, she stated her youngsters “proceed to undergo indignities attributable to my mistake […] embarrassed, chastised and mocked by each their friends in addition to adults. Every of my three youngsters has misplaced almost each pal that they had,” First Coast News reported.
She claimed her household had skilled a number of traumatic occasions within the months main as much as the incident, together with a near-fatal boat accident and a home fireplace that destroyed their house. On the day of the incident at Pier 1, she wrote: “My daughter was alarmed when she observed a stranger recording the three of us along with her telephone.
“Admittedly I used to be instantly infuriated and demanded this buyer to cease filming my youngsters. Within the warmth of the second, I overreacted in an overprotective method which in the end led to my retaliation on this stranger, the sufferer,” she wrote.
“And,” she added, “that extremely regrettable, split-second, knee-jerk response has value my household dearly.”