Man Pleads Guilty to Slapping Crying Toddler

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Joe Rickey Hundley Courtesy: Kootenai County Sheriff

(CNN) — An airline passenger accused of slapping the toddler seated next to him on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight in February pleaded guilty to assault Wednesday in federal court.

Joe Rickey Hundley, 61, will be sentenced on January 6, according to his attorney, Marcia Shein.

Hundley was seated next to Jessica Bennett and her 19-month-old son in row 28 when Delta Flight 721 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 off life support. He died the day after the flight.

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.”

–By Kevin Conlon, CNN


  • Diann R Pennick

    One thing to say the “n” word but add he added injury to insult with he slap. I just don’t feel the excuse. After the Trayvon Martin situation , ard to believe anyting these days.

  • Steve Louden

    Let him(or her) who is without sin cast the first stone. I don’t condone anyone using the “n” word, but this man was going through a living hell at the time, and when you are dealing with pulling the plug on what is keeping a family member alive, anything but anything could set someone off and cause them to say and do something they regret. Yes, he should pay for his actions, but consideration should also be taken for what the Mr. Hundley was going through at that particular time.

  • Breona

    I don’t think that’s an excuse.Stress can bring out the worst in people, but you have to have that kind of ugliness already in you to begin with, in order for it to come out. And for you to strike someone else’s child– keyword, child– across the face? No excuse. Simply found an ugly person at an even uglier time in their life.

    When most people are stressed, they might cry it out, curse it out, even curse YOU out, or whatever. They don’t go tossing around racial slurs and beating up kids.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.