Woman who coughed on cancer patient gets 30 days in jail

National

Debra Hunter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida woman whose image went viral when she coughed on a customer at a Pier 1 store last year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.

A judge in Jacksonville on Thursday also ordered Debra Hunter to pay a $500 fine, serve six months probation and participate in a mental health evaluation along with anger management, David Chapman, communications director for the state attorney’s office in Jacksonville, said in an email. She was also ordered to cover the costs of the victim’s COVID-19 test.

Hunter received credit for one day already served in jail. She was arrested last June after she was recorded deliberately coughing on the other customer during an argument with employees inside the store. According to investigators, the victim, Heather Sprague, had begun recording Hunter’s heated encounter with the employees. Hunter saw her and made a rude gesture before walking up and saying she would cough on her. And then she coughed on her, an arrest affidavit said.

Sprague, who is being treated for a brain tumor, told the judge she spent days anxiously searching for a place where she and her family could be tested for the coronavirus. The tests ended up being negative, she said.

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