Tensions reached a breaking point during a flight to Atlanta last February, where a man responded to a toddler’s cries by slapping him in the face and directing a racial slur at the 1-year-old boy. On Monday, Joe Rickey Hundley was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for the crime.
The young boy, then only one year old, was crying because of the altitude change. According to FBI agents, Hundley told Jessica Bennett, the toddler’s mother, “to shut that (N-word) baby up,” whereupon he slapped the child in the face, under the eye.
Bennett, 33, who couldn’t believe what she had just heard, said that Hundley proceeded to fall on top of her and repeat himself, but in a tone that was “even more hateful.” She has also noted that Hundley “reeked of alcohol.”
According to Hundley’s lawyer, Hundley was distraught during the flight because he was on his way to take his only child, who had overdosed on insulin, off life support.
Hundley initially pleaded not guilty to federal assault charges in March, but changed his plea to guilty one day before his hearing was scheduled.
Although prosecutors had recommended six months in prison, the judge imposed a higher sentence, based, in part, off the fact that Hundley’s criminal history includes a prior assault. Hundley’s lawyer has said that she believes the sentence is disproportionate.
In addition to his prison sentence, he now faces a $100,000 fine.
The 61-year-old Hundley was formerly the president of Unitech Composites and Structures in Idaho, but was suspended from his position upon the beginning of the investigation.
Sources: Huffington Post, USA Today
Photo Source: Daily Mail