Airline passenger slaps crying toddler on plane

Passenger's lawyer claims client was in serious distress

Published On: Jan 06 2014 11:00:14 PM EST
ATLANTA, Ga. -

An airline passenger is sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to slapping a crying toddler on a Delta flight.

Prosecutors say 61-year-old Joe Rickey Hundley was sitting next to a woman and her son on a trip to Atlanta when her toddler began crying.

According to the woman Hundley appeared intoxicated, called her 19-month-old a racial slur, then slapped him in the face.

Hundley's attorney said her client was in serious distress at the time.

She said he was flying to see his comatose son and take him off life support.

Hundley's lawyer also blamed his alcoholism for his behavior on the flight.

Prosecutors recommended six months in prison, but the judge imposed a stiffer sentence due in part to Hundley's arrest record, which includes a DUI.