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Probation in `McMissile' case

A woman faced two years in prison for maliciously throwing a missile -- a cup of ice -- into another car.

February 22, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

STAFFORD, VA. — A woman who hurled a McDonald's cup of ice into a car that cut her off in traffic was sentenced to probation instead of prison Wednesday.

Jessica Hall, 25, could have gotten two years behind bars after being convicted of maliciously throwing a missile -- the cup of ice -- into an occupied vehicle in what was dubbed the "McMissile" case. No one was injured in the July 2 incident.

Hall thanked Judge Frank A. Hoss Jr. and wept after he put her on probation for five years. She has been in jail since Jan. 4.

Hall was expected to go home today after settling an unrelated bad-check charge in Mississippi that prevented her release from jail Wednesday. Mississippi authorities agreed to drop the charge if her family paid the amount owed on the checks, which totaled less than $1,000. Her family agreed.

Hall, 25, was convicted last week after the jury was instructed that "any physical object can be considered a missile. A missile can be propelled by any force, including throwing." The jury recommended that Hall be sentenced to two years in prison.

Hoss said Hall did not deserve any more jail time.

"In my view, being a convicted felon and serving that time in jail is sufficient punishment," Hoss said.

Hall, a mother of three whose husband is serving his third tour in Iraq, cried as Hoss asked her whether she understood the terms of his decision.

"Yes, sir. Thank you. Thank you," she said.

The incident occurred as Hall was driving north on Interstate 95 with her children and her sister, who was six months' pregnant and having early contractions. Traffic had slowed to a crawl, and Hall said she was angry that another driver had cut her off twice. She hurled the cup of ice into the other car, where it flew across the driver, Pete Ballin, and landed on his girlfriend, Eliza Fowle.

Hall testified at her trial that she was wrong to throw the cup at the other car, but that she felt provoked. "It was past me ignoring him. I'm not going to lie; I was cursing him," she said. "I took the McDonald's cup. I tossed it."

In a jailhouse interview last week with the Washington Post, Hall said she knew she had made a serious mistake.

"Now people are going to see me as an angry, road-rage, convicted felon. And it really upsets me," she said. "I must have been wrong

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