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Man appears in court in airplane toddler slap case

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:49 a.m. HST, Feb 20, 2013

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho >>  An Idaho man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight made an initial appearance in federal court.

Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, surrendered to federal agents and then stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mikel H. Williams, who appeared via video at the federal courthouse in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Hundley, of Hayden, Idaho, was released by the magistrate on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

As conditions of his release, the Hundley cannot drink alcohol or possess firearms and must surrender his passport. He cannot travel outside of Idaho, eastern Washington state, or the northern district of Georgia, where the case will be tried.

Hundley is accused of slapping the 19-month-old boy during a Feb. 8 Delta Air Lines flight. Hundley has been charged in Atlanta with simple assault. His attorney says he will plead not guilty.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison if Hundley is convicted.

Hundley was president of Unitech Composites and Structures, an aerospace company in Hayden. But he was fired last weekend by Unitech's parent company, AGC Aerospace & Defense, because of the in-flight incident.

There was no answer at Hundley's home when an Associated Press reporter knocked on the door today. He has an unlisted telephone number.

The boy's mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, told the FBI their flight was on final descent into Atlanta when her son started to cry. Hundley "told her to shut that (N-word) baby up," according to a statement from an FBI agent. Bennett said Hundley then slapped the child in the face, scratching the boy below his right eye and causing him to scream even louder.

Bennett has said Hundley appeared intoxicated, became increasingly obnoxious during the flight and complained her son was too big to sit on her lap.

Bennett has said she was shocked by the racial slur. She and her husband are white, while the child, Jonah, whom they adopted, is black.

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iwanaknow wrote:
"It was the booze talking, not Mr Hundley.
on February 19,2013 | 02:52PM
honupono wrote:
it was his true feelings. Racist.
on February 19,2013 | 02:56PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Yeah, let's hang him.
on February 19,2013 | 04:30PM
RichardCory wrote:
Hmmm, there'd be something ironically familiar about doing that. But what is it? I can't put my finger on it. Anyway, we better make sure we wear some hoods so no one can recognize us when he do it. I propose we wear white, pointy ones, so we can recognize each other easier.
on February 19,2013 | 08:22PM
poidragon wrote:
Nope, booze only exacerbated the problem, it was all Mr. Hundley!
on February 19,2013 | 10:27PM
entrkn wrote:
I have done a lot of flying in my life and I have never seen anyone do anything like this without a lot of provocation. If you are ever stuck next to a screaming ranting child with a self-righteous pious arrogant mother on a long flight, like I have been on several occasions, and the flight attendants refuse to help, you do feel the strong urge to do and or say something. If this guy asked the flight attendants for assistance and didn't get any, he is probably going to win a very large law suit against Delta.
on February 19,2013 | 03:57PM
usahwn wrote:
Are you for real ? A 2 yr old ?
on February 19,2013 | 05:55PM
copperwire9 wrote:
I just hope I never have to sit next to YOU on a plane. Geez.
on February 19,2013 | 09:54PM
luv2play wrote:
so, exactly how many crying two year olds have you seen slapped and called the n-word on flights you've been on?
on February 19,2013 | 09:57PM
rockyhawaii wrote:
And what exactly would the flight attendants do? Provide you with "assistance" by slapping the child and yelling racial epithets for you?
on February 19,2013 | 11:31PM
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