Woman Sentenced To 30 Days In Jail For Coughing On Cancer Patient

(Photo by Chris Delmas/Getty)

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
Font Size:

A Jacksonville judge sentenced a woman to 30 days in jail Thursday for coughing on a customer at a Pier 1 store last June, according to The Guardian.

The judge ordered Debra Hunter to pay a $500 fine, serve six months of probation, participate in a mental health evaluation, take anger management classes and pay for the cancer patient’s coronavirus test, The Guardian reported. (RELATED: Man Punches Uber Driver Over Mask Policy)

Heather Sprague, the cancer patient being treated for a brain tumor, said in court she recorded Hunter’s dispute with the store employees, The New York Times reported. Sprague said Hunter berated the employees for 15 minutes in order to return an item, according to The New York Times. Hunter saw Sprague recording the dispute and coughed on her, according to The Guardian.

Hunter’s husband, Doug Hunter, said in court that he and his wife had gone through many hardships leading up to her meltdown, including losing their possessions in a house fire, FirstCoast News reported.

“It was like air being inflated into a balloon, and it finally got to the point where she couldn’t handle any more air,” he said, according to FirstCoast News. “And then she finally rubbed up against something and just popped.”

Debra Hunter told the judge her children have lost their friends and that they do not publicly go out anymore, according to FirstCoast News.

“I watch as my kids lower their heads and turn the opposite direction, so they won’t be recognized or approached,” she said, according to FirstCoast News. “And I know exactly what they’re feeling because I do the same thing.”