Joe Hundley, alleged baby-slapper, explains mental state at time of plane incident

Categories: Crime
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Hundley was en route to Atlanta to pull his son off life support when he allegedly slapped a 19-month-old.
Yesterday, Joe Hundley pleaded not guilty to slapping 19-month-old Jonah Bennett after calling him a "n***er baby" while on board a February 8 flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta.

THE BACKSTORY: Joe Hundley allegedly said "shut that [n-bomb] baby up" before slapping toddler during flight

And in a statement released by his attorney, Hundley, 60, explained why he was emotionally "distraught" at the time of the incident.

From CNN:
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Jonah Bennett
After the hearing, [Hundley's attorney, Marcia Shein] issued a statement on Hundley's behalf, saying that the day before the flight on February 8, her client had learned that his son had overdosed on insulin and was in a coma on life support...

"Mr. Hundley had been up for 24 hours over this tragic news and was heading to Atlanta to decide, with his son's mother, if they should take him off life support as he had no brain activity. On the flight he was in distress, upset and grieving," Shein said. His son died the next day, she said...

In her statement Wednesday, Shein acknowledged that Hundley "said something no one should say even in their darkest moments" when the boy began crying and that he "deeply regrets saying those words." But she said that Hundley did not "strike the child and believes what happened to Mrs. Bennett's child was an accident."

Hundley "had paid a terrible price for his hurtful words but asks only that people understand that he was not doing well that night and spoke hurtful words he would have not otherwise have said," Shein said.
But Hundley might have a hard time persuading a judge or jury with the I-didn't-hit-him argument when his case goes to trial this spring, as at least one eyewitness on the plane claims to have seen an intoxicated Hundley swat Jonah, leaving the youngster with a bleeding scratch below his eye.

In addition to now facing a federal assault charge that could cost him $100,000 and land him behind bars for up to a year, Hundley lost his job as vice president of AGC Aerospace & Defense after news of the plane incident went public. Little Jonah, meanwhile, was left with stranger anxiety in addition to his scratch, according to his mother, Minneapolis resident Jessica Bennett.


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13 comments
_Joe_
_Joe_

I don't buy it.  Speaking as a father, I can't see how one's grief for their own child would ever translate into violence toward another child.

James Bauer
James Bauer

The slap from being stressed is enough to raise questions, but the racial slur? No way man. You gotta be in a reasonable frame of mind to hurl that one.

Dee Finkelson
Dee Finkelson

now every action in America will be a " mental state / mental ill " issue. Slap baby, kill children, rape, bomb terror, etc ...ohhh the evil has mental problem.....

Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough

Having not slept & dealing with the overdose of his son is reason to be on edge & even say something about shutting that kid up. I could excuse that. Not striking a child if that happened. Using that kind of language is just not acceptable, never ever & I mean never!

Kinnell Tackett
Kinnell Tackett

It seems in our current society we love to watch people go on trial and be punished (picturing the trial from Idiocracy). It's sad.

Brad Fors
Brad Fors

My sympathies to Joe Hundley!

Edward Bertsch
Edward Bertsch

Last minute trip from Idaho to Atlanta? $1,500. Private jet from Idaho to Atlanta? $9,000. Keeping your job? Priceless.

Ruth Cheryl Woytsek
Ruth Cheryl Woytsek

You are correct about that, but as someone with mental disorders, I understand there are consequences one must suffer if they act out. Otherwise, we'd never learn. However, we really should do more for mental illness in this country besides telling people to "suck it up and deal".

Bent Angle
Bent Angle

We are intolerant of people suffering mental issues.

meesh427
meesh427

I have to say I sympathize with him....what he went through with his son is awful.  But that still doesn't excuse his behavior towards that poor child. I know crying kids on planes are annoying but they do not deserve racial insults and violence.

Tony Welch
Tony Welch

Was he fired for the physical slap or the racial epithet?

Ruth Cheryl Woytsek
Ruth Cheryl Woytsek

Perhaps Mr. Hundley was so distraught, he needed to be slapped, himself. I have been through terrible things and have been quite emotional, but I haven't slapped a child, no matter how they are acting.

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