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US man gets eight months in prison for hitting child on plane

Published on Jan 7, 2014 6:07 AM

ATLANTA (REUTERS) - A former aerospace executive who while on a plane flight slapped a crying toddler and called the little boy a racial slur was sentenced on Monday to eight months in prison for an incident his attorney blamed on his alcoholism.

Joe Rickey Hundley, who apologised in court to the child's mother, was accused of striking the 19-month-old boy in the face on board a Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta last February.

Hundley, 61, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour assault charge in October. Prosecutors had recommended a six-month prison sentence, but a federal judge opted for a stiffer punishment.

"I'm very sorry," Hundley told the child's mother during the court hearing in Atlanta. "I made the most terrible day in my life much worse for myself and others."

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