Monday, January 6, 2014

UPDATE: Idaho Man Who Slapped Toddler Aboard Plane Sentenced to Eight Months in Prison

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 11:24 AM

UPDATE: Jan. 6, 2014, 11 a.m.

An Idaho man who admitted to slapping a crying toddler on a Delta Airlines flight in February 2013 has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison.

The Associated Press reports that Joe Rickey Hundley was sentenced Monday morning in a federal courtroom in Atlanta.

The AP reports that prosecutors had recommended six months in prison. But the judge said he imposed a higher sentence in part because of Hundley's criminal history, which includes a prior assault.

Hundley's lawyer objected to the deviation from the recommendation in the plea agreement and said after the hearing that she believes the sentence is disproportionate.

ORIGINAL POST: Jan. 6, 2014 9 a.m.

Joe Rickey Hundley pleaded guilty to assault.
  • Joe Rickey Hundley pleaded guilty to assault.

The incident, in February 2013 aboard a Delta Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta, went viral. And in short order, the mugshot of 61-year-old Joe Rickey Hundley of the North Idaho community of Hayden was everywhere.

Hundley surrendered to the FBI after being accused of slapping a toddler aboard the flight, allegedly telling the child's mother to shut that [racial slur] baby up." Hundley ended up being fired from his position as president of Unitech Composites and Structures in Hayden.

Hundley's attorney, Marcia Shein, said Hundley made the derogatory statements because he was grieving. She said her client was traveling to Atlanta in order to take his only child off of life support after his son had overdosed on insulin.

"He said something inappropriate to Mrs. Bennett he shouldn't have said even in his darkest hour," said Shein. "We hope for Mrs. Bennett's sake and our client's sake that everyone will forgive him for what he said and to heal."

Bennett said she wanted Hudley to pay for what he allegedly said and did to her son.

Hundley ultimately pleaded guilty in October 2013 after reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. His admission to assault carries a possible sentence of up to a year in prison and fines of up to $100,000. Prosecutors are recommending six months behind bars.

Hundley is scheduled to be sentenced in a federal courtroom in Atlanta today.

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