Man accused of slapping toddler pleads not guilty - KMSP-TV

Man accused of slapping toddler pleads not guilty

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The 60-year-old Idaho man accused of slapping a Minneapolis toddler on a Delta flight and yelling a racial slur has pleaded not guilty to a charge of simple assault.

Joe Hundley appeared in court on Thursday and admitted to using the racial slur, but he denied hitting 19-month-old Jonah Bennett when he wouldn't stop crying.

Hundley's attorney said her client was under a great deal of stress at the time because he was flying to Atlanta to take his son off life support.

"He said what he said, and he's admitting that -- but that wasn't a crime," said defense attorney Marcia Shein. "That was just an inappropriate statement in a very difficult time for him. We hope, for Mrs. Bennett's sake and our client's sake, that everyone will forgive him for what he said and heal."

The boy's mother claims Hundley reeked of alcohol at the time of the incident.

The former business executive lost his job after he was charged. If convicted, he could face a year in prison.

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