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Baby slapper gets eight months in prison

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Joe Rickey Hundley

(CNN) — The Idaho man who slapped a crying 19-month-old boy on a Delta flight in February was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison, the man’s lawyer said.

Joe Rickey Hundley pleaded guilty to assault in federal court in October.

Hundley’s attorney, Marcia Shein, said Hundley will report to a yet-to-be determined prison but didn’t say what the date would be.

Related:  Man fired after allegedly assaulting toddler on plane

She said she respects the judge’s ruling but called the sentence “disproportionate” to the crime and added that it was two months longer than what prosecutors had recommended.

In February, Hundley was seated next to Jessica Bennett and her 19-month-old son in row 28 when Delta flight 721 from Minneapolis, Minnestoa, began its descent into Atlanta .

When the baby began to cry, Hundley allegedly told Bennett to “shut that (N-word) baby up,” according to an FBI affidavit.

“(He) then turned around and slapped (the child) in the face with an open hand, which caused (him) to scream even louder,” the affidavit continued. The boy suffered a scratch below his right eye.

Shein said in a February statement that her client was in distress and grieving during the flight after learning the day before that his son was in a coma, after overdosing on insulin.

Hundley was headed to Atlanta to decide whether or not to take his son — who died the day after the flight — off life support.

Shein said Hundley “had paid a terrible price for his hurtful words but asks only that people understand that he was not doing well that night and spoke hurtful words he would have not otherwise have said.”

CNN’s Janet DiGiacomo and Kevin Conlon contributed to this story.


  • Tim

    This “man” was grieving and upset over his own son. That’s understandable, but that does not give you an excuse to HIT someone’ else’s child, especially a baby. There’s no excuse for what he did, especially the racist slur he spewed. He deserves his jail time.

  • Tiny

    In the mean time a 16 year old brat in Texas can get boozed and drugged up go speeds of 70 mph down a rural road and kill four innocent people and critically injure two of his friends and only get 10 years probation because of affluenza. I’m not excusing what this man did. I’m just saying our priorities are screwed up in America.

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