Debra Jo Hunter wept as the judge ignored her plea agreement and gave her jail time instead.
A viral video of the shopper at a Pier 1 in St. Johns Town Center who grew irate when she was told to wear a mask cost this woman her freedom. As the situation in the store escalated after some time, she finally went up to another woman recording her and coughed in her face before leaving the store.
That woman was a cancer patient, posting on Facebook at the time that she went directly for a COVID test. Hunter had pled guilty two weeks ago, finally realizing she could get jail time, and she did. At her sentencing hearing, Judge James Ruth gave her 29 days in jail for her tirade instead of probation with conditions.
If only more of these 'Karens' got the same.
A Fernandina Beach woman seen giving the finger to another shopper on video that went viral then coughing in her face at a St. Johns Town Center store before storming out has been sentenced to 29 days in jail for assault.
The decision ended several hours of testimony and questions during Debra Jo Michele Hunter's sentencing hearing that went into Thursday evening and came despite an August plea agreement that had consisted of only probation with conditions.
Debra Jo Hunter gets emotional as she testifies during her sentencing hearing via Zoom on Thursday.
Duval County Court Judge James Ruth first heard testimony from Hunter's husband, friends and family who said she has a "really huge heart" and is "broken-hearted" over how she coughed on cancer patient Heather Sprague. But after they spoke on behalf of Hunter, Sprague told the judge about the confrontation that happened only months after she underwent brain tumor surgery.
Sprague said she watched Hunter, 53, give at least 15 minutes of what she called "escalating bullying," swearing and threats to Pier 1 staff about a broken item with Sprague's children nearby. It was only when Sprague said she started shooting video in the final minute of the tirade that she was yelled at, then coughed on.
Here's a news report from two weeks ago when she pled guilty.
And her response to the sentencing.
Debra Jo Hunter, who was recorded in a viral video intentionally coughing on a cancer patient in Jacksonville, Florida, has been sentenced to 29 days in jail.https://t.co/YZOIfgYerj
— Travis Akers (@travisakers) April 9, 2021