Man Pleads Not Guilty to Slapping Minn. Toddler on Plane

Updated: 03/21/2013 2:55 PM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart

A man accused of slapping a Minnesota toddler on an Atlanta-bound flight and using a racial slur has pleaded not guilty to assault in federal court.

Joe Rickey Hundley, of Hayden, Idaho, appeared in court Wednesday.

Authorities say he used a racial slur when telling the boy's mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, to quiet her baby and slapped the child.

The incident unfolded Feb. 8 aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis.

Hundley's attorney, Marcia Shein, says the 60-year-old man has admitted to using the racial slur. She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Hundley was traveling to Atlanta to take his only child off of life support after his son overdosed on insulin. She says Hundley was distraught during the flight.

Hundley is scheduled to appear again in court April 9.

See our previous coverage of the story in the video box above.

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