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Almost a year after a confrontation at a Florida mall, justice was meted out.
A Florida woman caught on video coughing on a cancer patient at a Jacksonville Pier 1 store at the height of the coronavirus pandemic has been sentenced.
On Thursday, Duval County Court Judge James Ruth sentenced Debra Hunter to serve 30 days in jail, pay a $500 fine, serve six months’ probation and undergo a mental health evaluation along with anger management, The Associated Press reports. The defendant received credit for one day already served.
David Chapman, communications director for the state attorney’s office in Jacksonville, told the media outlet in an email that Hunter was also ordered to cover the costs of the victim’s COVID-19 test.
Hunter was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge last July a month after video spread of her intentionally coughing, maskless, on cancer patient Heather Sprague, who was recording her arguing with a Pier 1 employee.
The victim, who has a brain tumor, told the judge being coughed on made her fearful that she had the coronavirus. The mother of 10 ended up testing negative.
Hunter has since expressed remorse about the coughing attack, but fretted that she and her three kids are now social pariahs and “permanently scarred.”
“I watch as my kids lower their heads and turn the opposite direction, so they won’t be recognized or approached,” the 52-year-old Fernandina Beach woman told the judge. “And I know exactly what they’re feeling because I do the same thing.“
Ruth was not sympathetic of Hunter’s plight in society: “Her children didn’t create this problem and her husband didn’t, and she talked about how it changed her world and she was getting nastygrams on Facebook and things of that nature and they can’t go to their country club or wherever,” the judge said. “But I have yet to see any expression, or a significant expression on her regret about the impact it had on the victim in this case.”