Accused: Joe Rickey Hundley is accused of first racially abusing, then physically assaulting 19-month old Jonah Bennett

The mother of a toddler who was slapped  during a flight has broken her silence, saying she was scared to death as a ‘drunk’ fellow passenger slapped her son after spouting off a racial slur, and  now the man who did it is out of a job.

Jessica Bennett, 33, was aboard the Delta  flight from Minnesota to Atlanta with her adopted son Jonah on February 8 when  the boy began crying because he was feeling ‘the pressure in his  ears.’

She said she was shocked to hear the man  seated next to her, Joe Rickey Hundley, demand that she ‘shut that n****r baby  up.’

She told ABC  News: ‘I said,  “What did you just say?” And he was so drunk that he fell onto my face and his  mouth moved over to my ear and he said it directly into my ear.’

But she couldn’t have imagined what happened  next, as Hundley allegedly slapped Jonah.

Accused: Joe Rickey Hundley is accused of first racially abusing, then physically assaulting 19-month old Jonah Bennett

When I looked at Jonah’s face, his eye was  swollen… and it was bleeding. I was just scared to death.’

Mrs Bennett, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, says  Jonah was traumatized by the incident, and has become ‘apprehensive to  strangers’ since.

Hundley’s lawyer Marcia Shein, told ABC News  that no one should rush to judgment in her client’s case, and he will be  pleading not guilty.

But the task of proving his innocence may be  difficult as Bennett family attorney John Thompson told the network that there  were numerous witnesses who saw Hundley strike Jonah – including a federal air  marshal.

According to The Smoking Gun, Hundley has been charged with simple  assault after the incident.

Hundley was charged with simple  assault in  federal court in Atlanta last week. If convicted, he faces a maximum of one year  in prison.

The 60-year-old, who is the president of an  aircraft parts manufacturer based in Idaho, denied slapping the child or using  racial language. He claims  that he did ‘ask the mother to quiet the  child.’

Hundley was suspended from his job as  president of Unitech Composites and Structures, The Atlanta  Journal-Constitution reported.

Al Haase, president and chief  executive of  AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group – Unitech’s  parent company – said  the firm was taking the matter seriously.

‘In accordance with our company’s  personal  conduct policy, we have suspended the employee pending  investigation,’ Al Haase,  president and CEO of AGC, said in a  statement.

‘We wish to emphasize that the behavior that has been described is contradictory to our values, embarrassing and  does not  in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse  backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business,’ Haase added.

The company later amended its statement  adding that ‘he is no longer with the company.’

AGC did not specify whether Hundley was fired  or if he left voluntarily.

Hundley said he was traveling to Atlanta to  visit a  hospitalized relative, described his emotional state as ‘distraught’  and that he had one alcoholic drink on the aircraft.

However, Bennett told The Smoking Gun that she  believed Hundley was intoxicated. The mother said that he ‘reeked of alcohol’,  was ‘stumbling around  wasted’ and he consumed several double vodkas during the  flight.

Bennett says Hundley told her that Jonah was  too big to be a ‘lap baby.’

Agent Cheney added that Bennett  received  help from other passengers on the Delta flight.

Todd Wooten,  who was seated 12 rows ahead,  told authorities that he ‘heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the  aircraft’ and went to see what was going on.

‘According to Mr. Wooten,’ Cheney wrote, ‘he  saw Joe Rickey Hundley strike’ the child.

Hundley pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor  assault in a Virginia court in  2007 after he was arrested following a quarrel  with his girlfriend.

He was first charged with simple assault,  carrying a concealed weapon, and public intoxication. Hundley told The Smoking Gun that the weapon he was allegedly  carrying was a corkscrew.



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