- Police Photo: Kootenai County Sheriff
A man who was arrested for slapping a baby while aboard an airplane was sentenced to eight months in federal prison.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman handed down the sentence to Joe Rickey Hundley on Monday after Hundley pleaded to slapping a crying toddler while on an airplane.
Hundley was accused of using a racial slur to refer to the 19-month-old boy and hitting him under the eye as the flight from Minneapolis descended to the Atlanta airport last February.
He pleaded guilty in October to simple assault after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors. The judge said he issued a longer sentence in part due to Hundley's criminal history, which includes charges for assault.
Hundley told the judge he took full responsibility for his actions and turned to apologize in person to Jessica Bennett, the toddler's mother, before he was sentenced, as reported by AP.
"I made the most terrible day in my life much worse for me and for others," Hundley told the judge.
Previous reports stated that the baby was crying on the Atlanta bound flight as the flight neared its destination. However, the crying angered Hundley who screamed out a racial epithet at the infant and slapped the crying baby in the face.
The baby's mother described the attack saying that the hard slap caused a scratch under the baby boy's right eye.
A police report also described that as Hundley slapped the child he shouted out, "Shut that (n-word) baby up!"
Hundley has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day since March, is undergoing 15 hours of counseling a week and has been helping others deal with alcohol problems, Hundley's lawyer, Marcia Shein, revealed. Hundley told the judge that he shouldn't have had any alcohol the day of the incident.