Woman who deliberately coughed on Jacksonville mom in viral video sentenced to 30 days in jail

The incident happened in 2020; now Debra Jo Hunter must also serve six months of probation and attend anger management

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE 4/8/2021 6:30 p.m.: The woman seen in a 2020 viral video deliberately coughing on another customer in a Jacksonville store was sentenced to 30 days in the Duval County Jail.

Debra Jo Hunter was credited one day of time served. She must also serve six months of probation and attend anger management.

Hunter, who pleaded guilty to assault on March 22, must also pay a $500 fine.

UPDATE 7/31/2020 4:27 p.m.: Action News Jax learned that the woman seen in a viral video last month deliberately coughing on a customer is facing criminal charges. Debra Jo Hunter is charged with assault.

UPDATE 6/30/2020 12:30 p.m.: The woman who appeared to be coughing on a woman in a Jacksonville store has been identified, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

If the victim chooses to press charges, then JSO would seek a warrant for her arrest.

Original story from 6/26/2020 by Russell Colburn below:

New video is going viral of a woman not wearing a mask coughing on a local mom inside a Jacksonville store.

That alleged victim, Heather Sprague, tells Action News Jax she started recording Thursday when she said the woman became aggressive with employees at Pier One Imports.

Action News Jax blurred the culprit’s face because she has not been charged with a crime.

“I was a little shocked to have her really kind of weaponize the threat of the virus,” Sprague said. “It was an act of aggression, and so I was really surprised.”

Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said a crime was committed, as Sprague was left in fear of harm, especially with what’s happening today.

“That’s clearly an assault,” Carson said. “That’s a misdemeanor. It’s punishable by 90 days in jail. We shouldn’t engage in that behavior, because we don’t know whether or not you could be transmitting the virus, particularly when people, individuals, are often asymptomatic.”

Sprague rarely ventures out, as she’s immunocompromised. She’s battling a brain tumor while raising ten kids.

She said she recorded this to send a message to this person, and them.

“It’s important to stand up to aggression, because as soon as aggressors are held accountable, they lose their bravado,” Sprague said.

Sprague said she’s considering pressing charges.