ATLANTA Jan 6 A former aerospace executive who
slapped a crying toddler on an airplane and used a racial slur
against the child, who is black, received an eight-month prison
sentence on Monday for an incident his attorney blamed on his
Joe Rickey Hundley, who apologized in court to the child's
mother, was accused of striking the 19-month-old boy in the face
on board a Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta
Hundley pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in
October. Prosecutors had sought a six-month prison sentence, but
the federal judge opted for a stiffer punishment.
"I'm very sorry," Hundley told the child's mother during the
court hearing in Atlanta. "I made the most terrible day in my
life much worse for myself and others."
Hundley's attorney has said her client had flown to Atlanta
to remove his dying son from life support after an insulin
overdose and was emotionally distraught. She also blamed his
alcoholism for his behavior on the flight.
The child's mother previously said Hundley was belligerent
and seemed intoxicated during the flight. He used a racial slur
when the child started crying as the plane descended.
The baby is black and his adoptive mother, Jessica Bennett
of Minneapolis, is white. Hundley also is white.
Hundley was fired from his executive position at AGC
Aerospace & Defense after the slapping incident, his attorney
(Reporting by David Beasley; Writing by Colleen Jenkins;
Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Cynthia Osterman)