ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge on Monday sentenced a man who pleaded guilty to slapping a crying toddler on an Atlanta-bound flight to serve eight months in federal prison.
Joe Rickey Hundley was accused of using a racial slur to refer to the 19-month-old boy, who’s black, 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.
Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of six months in prison, and Hundley reserved his right to argue for a lower sentence. U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman said he imposed a higher sentence in part because of Hundley’s criminal history, which includes a prior assault.
Hundley’s lawyer, Marcia Shein, objected to the deviation from the recommendation in the plea agreement and said after the hearing that she believes the sentence is disproportionate.
Before he was sentenced, Hundley told the judge he took full responsibility for his actions and turned to apologize in person to Jessica Bennett, the toddler’s mother, who was in the courtroom.
h/t – wtop