Man who slapped toddler on plane to be sentenced

Joe Hundley
WCCO/Kootenai County Sheriff

ATLANTA - Joe Rickey Hundley, an Idaho man who pleaded guilty to slapping a crying toddler on a flight, is due in federal court for sentencing.

Hundley pleaded guilty in October after reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. His sentencing is set for Monday morning.

Prosecutors say Hundley used a racial slur to refer to the 19-month-old boy, who's black, and then hit him under the right eye as the flight from Minneapolis began its descent to the Atlanta airport last February. At the beginning of the flight, Hundley had asked about the airline's policy regarding "lap children," prosecutors said.

Hundley pleaded guilty to simple assault in October.

The misdemeanor simple assault charge carries a possible prison sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to $100,000. Prosecutors have recommended six months in prison, but Hundley reserved his right to argue for a lower sentence.

The judge isn't required to follow the recommendations in the plea agreement.

Hundley had been the president of an aerospace company in Hayden, Idaho, but lost his job following media coverage of the incident, Crimesider previously reported.

Complete coverage of the Joe Hundley case on Crimesider