An Idaho man accused of slapping a toddler on a Delta flight pleaded not guilty in Atlanta's federal court on Wednesday.
Joe Ricky Hundley was charged with simple assault in the Feb. 8 incident. He's accused of slapping a 2-year-old boy during a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta.
The toddler's mother, Jessica Bennett, told authorities her son started to cry and that's when handle reportedly used a racial slur and slapped the child in the face.
"His mouth was in my ear and he said it again but even more hateful and he was on my face so I pushed him away then that's when he slapped Jonah," Bennett said.
Hundley's attorney, Marcia Shein, told FOX 5 that Hundley was on his way to Atlanta to decide whether to take his adult son off life support after he overdosed on insulin and had been declared brain dead.
"On that flight he was upset stressed and grieving and made comments to Mrs. Bennett he should never had made and is very apologetic for having said what he did and he hopes for everyone's sake that she will heal and forgive him," Shein said.
While acknowledging Hundley made a racial remark, His attorney maintains he never slapped the toddler.
"We believe that what happened that night was an accident or inadvertent, where the child was injured, but it wasn't because Mr. Hundley intentionally or in fact did strike the child in any way," Shein said.
Hundley is scheduled to return to court on April 9. His trial is scheduled to being on May 13.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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