Baby slapper gets eight months in prison

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Joe Rickey Hundley

IDAHO — 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.

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.”


  • FaithC

    Cry me a river. Someone else who has an excuse for bad behavior and claiming it was not his fault because he was in distress. People like this need to learn to keep their temper in check.

    Many people are in “distress”, but they don’t lash out at others.

  • B

    It happens all the time FaithC on our highways. All you have to do is look at how aggressive people drive and the get out of my way attitude. There is no excuse for this type of reaction but it don’t surprise me.

  • will

    They would not have to worry about his punishment had he slapped my baby. They could drag his body off the plane.

  • Trudy Cuffe

    One thing that gave him more time was the N word, sounds like it falls in the area of a HATE crime also, he got what he deserved and not a day less should he serve, he will not have to serve that whole time unless it was Federal Crime.

  • hannah

    Are you kidding me????? Someone should slap you and tell you to shut the hell up. The child was probably frightened. What the hell is wrong with you if someone even acted like they were going to slap one of my children I would make sure they couldn’t leave the plane without help.

    • Lee

      When a plane ascends or descends, the air pressure changes rapidly causing your ears to “pop.” Small children often experience bad earaches during this transition, causing them to cry with the pain. Letting them have a bottle or passy during this time causes the ears to pop quickly, relieving the pressure and eliminating the pain. Older kids can chew gum for the same effect.

  • J

    Spoken like a person who has never dealt with a small child in his entire life. This child wasn’t even two years old yet, and they were on a plane. There’s not too much you can do in a situation like that. It’s not like she could leave the room with the crying child and come back when it was behaving.

  • Jackie

    What an ignorant sounding individual you are. Do you have kids Jason?? I sure hope not, if so I feel sorry for them. I have a young child and it can be difficult to keep them calm in certain situations. I would imagine the sound of an airplane would scare them and in that case they are going to cry, no matter how hard you try to comfort them. This baby was only 19 months old…not even one yet. So for you to say “kudos to this man” is just ignorant and very disrespectful. He assaulted this young baby and for that he will do time. Just from your sly comment I am sure you have issues and will end up getting your own legal problems someday…if not already. Grow up.

  • Jeanette Kelley

    This man may have been distraught, or upset , but if you don’t use the (n) word how did it come out of your mouth.You had to have already been familiar with it to use it.The slapping the child in the face is another offense by itself.I don’t see 8 months.Just saying if the tables were turned the Black man would have gotten a much stiffer sentence And what he was gping thru would not have made a difference to the court.

  • Pam

    This is a slap….we have all experienced worse. The mother was very curtious of the man’s situation. I commend her for her behavior. As we have all been heated at a moment and the child will not even remember the pop to the face.
    Sorry for the man’s loss of his son. A very sad. He will think of how to handle his temper for now on.

  • Jambes Harvey Marks the Last

    If that old geezer had slapped my son I’d have cold-cocked him. Takes a BIG man to slap a 19-month-old, no matter what was going on in the geezer’s life. Enjoy the Federal conviction and prison, gramps!

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