Hayden Panettiere’s ex pleads not guilty to felony assault, his bail is $350,000

Hayden Panettiere and Brian Hickerson out with Hayden's family in Florida
Last week we heard that Hayden Panettiere had taken out a restraining order against her ex boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, who had reportedly moved to be with his family in South Carolina. There were six incidents, that we know about, where police were called for Brian’s abuse of Hayden during their relationship. He was arrested last Thursday on multiple felony assault and battery charges for those past incidents along with a more recent charge of “dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime,” also a felony. That was for intimidating Hayden on June 27, 2020, to try to “prevent and dissuade [her] from…. assisting in [his] prosecution.” So Hayden has been through it. She’s been away from her ex for at least the past month, after a vicious cycle of abuse that lasted from around August, 2018 until earlier this year. Brian has plead not guilty on all of those charges and is currently in jail with his bail set at $350,000. Here’s People’s writeup about that:

Hickerson, 31, entered a plea of not guilty to multiple felony charges, which include two assault charges, during an arraignment on Friday, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office tells PEOPLE.

A preliminary hearing for Hickerson’s case has been set for July 30, according to the spokesperson. Hickerson’s bail remains at $350,000.

Hickerson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. It was not immediately clear whether he has retained an attorney.

The aspiring actor was arrested on Thursday on eight charges against him stemming from allegedly abusive incidents from May 2019 to January 2020, according to a criminal indictment obtained by PEOPLE.

The charges included four felony charges of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant; a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon, “to wit, garage floor”; a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon, “to wit, stairs”; and a misdemeanor charge of battery on a spouse/cohabitant.

Additionally, Hickerson was charged with dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime, which is a felony. According to the complaint, on June 27, 2020, he attempted to “prevent and dissuade Hayden P., a victim and witness of a crime from causing a complaint, indictment, information, probation and parole violating to be sought and prosecuted and assisting in the prosecution thereof.”

[From People]

Late last week, Hayden issued a statement about the abuse she suffered. A source also told People that she is in treatment for alcohol addiction:

“I am coming forward with the truth about what happened to me with the hope that my story will empower others in abusive relationships to get the help they need and deserve,” she said. “I am prepared to do my part to make sure this man never hurts anyone again. I’m grateful for my support system, which helped me find the courage to regain my voice and my life.”

Her attorney Alan Jackson issued the following statement: “After suffering for years as the victim of psychological, emotional and severe physical abuse, Hayden Panettiere has begun the process of taking back her life. Hayden has found the strength and courage to share the truth about her abuse and her abuser, and she intends to assist the prosecution to see that justice is served. As a survivor, she recognizes that her arduous journey of healing has just begun.”

A source close to Panettiere told PEOPLE the actress is “taking this incredibly brave step as part of her recovery process.”

“She has been undergoing successful treatment for alcohol abuse issues and is focused on healing, sobriety and recovery,” the source said. “She wants to be honest about what happened in the hope that it may help someone else who is dealing with emotional abuse, intimidation or physical violence.”

“This is a turning point for her as she stands up for herself, her family and the many other people impacted by intimate partner violence,” the source added.

[From People]

I hope this scumbag’s family does not bail him out, that he is successfully prosecuted and that he gets a multi-year prison sentence. Consider how long it took Hayden to get out of this abusive relationship and imagine how hard that is for women without her resources, fame and support system. Brian wasn’t even arrested until the FIFTH incident in which police were called to her home. I’m glad to hear that she’s doing better and has a good support system around her.


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34 Responses to “Hayden Panettiere’s ex pleads not guilty to felony assault, his bail is $350,000”

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  1. I pet goat 2 says:

    So, so proud of her. I want to cry a little in relief.

  2. Lurker says:

    Im still amazed at the pass she is given for essentially abandoning her daughter. Granted, she’s with a loving father, but man…

    • Rea says:

      It is very common for the father to leave. Why should it be any different for the mother? Also i think she realised that was unable to care for her not simply that she couldn’t be bothered.

      • Lurker says:

        I totally agree it’s in the best interest of the child, but I still side eye it, just as I do with guys who do the same.

    • Chisey says:

      I thought she “abandoned” her daughter in order to protect her? If you aren’t able to keep a child safe, either from an abusive partner or from your own emotional turmoil, making sure that she is cared for by a loving adult strikes me as the most responsible choice in a bad situation. I hope she’s healthy enough to be reunited with her daughter soon.

      • ChillyWilly says:

        I totally agree, Chisey. She did the right thing by realizing she was too sick to care for her daughter. She is with her dad, not in foster care. Give this woman a break! She has obviously been THROUGH IT. I hope this Hickerson monster pays for what he did and that Hayden continues with her treatment and can be with her little girl again.

    • Goldie says:

      I believe she still visits her daughter. I wouldn’t say that she “abandoned” her. Yes, it’s unfortunate that she lives so far away, but what is the alternative? Hayden’s situation is clearly unstable right now. Her parents were stage parents who probably played a large role in creating her problems in the first place. The best solution seems to be for the child to stay with her father and his family.
      Some have suggested that Hayden should move to Ukraine full time. But if she’s dealing with mental health/ substance abuse issues, relocating to a foreign country where she doesn’t speak the language or know the culture may not be the best move. She may have more of a support system in the U.S.

      • Chiara says:

        Hayden’s father has been arrested in the past for abusing her mother. Her parents absolutely played a part in her current problems.

    • A says:

      It always seemed to me that Klitchko kept the kid because Panettiere was not, uh, able to care for their child. Like this wasn’t just a clear-cut case of her ducking responsibilities so much as there are other unhealthy factors that mean he is currently better able to care for the kid than she is. Of course we could speculate about what she was doing to change that, what role this abusive d-bag played in everything, and what that means for Panettiere as a parent but seems more complicated than just abandonment.

    • MaryContrary says:

      Considering how emotionally unwell she appears to be, and the horrible person she was with for years, it appears that her child is much better off with her father and seeing her mother occasionally. It’s a terrible situation all the way around.

    • Adrianna says:

      She is in no position to care for a child who is in a stable environment with her father and relatives. There were pictures a while back of a visit to see her.

    • serena says:

      Why should her daughter be with her when she’s clearly unwell? I think I’ve read she also suffered from sever depression when her baby was born and her mental health has clearly been affected by that and then this awful abuse she suffered. Let her breathe.

      It sucks that her daughter is so far away but she is with a stable loving father so I don’t really see the problem.

  3. MOT says:

    After my divorce I dated a horrible person who I didn’t break up with until the third time he grabbed my throat and pushed me against the wall. No that I’m out I cannot believe what I put up with.

    I’m so happy that she got out and took action. It’s like you’re in another dimension and you allow things that, when living in reality, you would never think were ok….

    • osito says:

      I’m so glad you got out and are here.

    • Dl says:

      I did it Twice!!! Yes once out and looking back it is like omg. If I saw my friend going through it I would reach out to help. For myself, everyone saw it but me😕. Years ago. Now I am ok and finally seeing a little self worth. Only took 60 years

  4. SJR says:

    So glad she is doing better. Get away and keep away.
    Look at the size difference between them, he outweighs her 2x at least. Hope he sits in jail.

  5. SJR says:

    I think she realized she was not able to care for her daughter.
    Better the child is raised in a safe place with people who love and take good care of her vs. trapped in a house full of domestic abuse.

    Men walk away from their bio children every day, why dog this woman about it?
    It is very common for the Dads to leave their children. (My Ex has 5 kids, has zero involvement with any of them)

    • Lurker says:

      but I agree that it’s in the daughters best interest to be with her dad, 100%. From what I’ve read he and his family seem to be sole caretakers and that’s awesome she has that 🙂 … but Hayden also never seemed to jive with being a mom tho either, maybe it was her ppd, or maybe it’s just not her thing, which is fair… But sad for the kid, and I wouldn’t give a pass to a guy on this matter either, like your ex, who 5 kids and having no relationship with them, He doesn’t get a pass from me either

      • Hyrule Castle says:

        That’s exactly what being a mother is: what’s best for your child.

        I think, Lurker, you exemplify what’s so wrong with our society: total lack of empathy combined with extreme judgement.

        You through in “maybe it’s her ppd” like that’s… nothing. Like suffering from post partum depression somehow ends, like it’s not a long term trauma.
        Like somehow it’s her fault because she didn’t “jive” with being a mother.

        Shame on you, for your judgements, your complete disinterest and lack of awareness of mental health issues, and your misogynistic comments about a woman suffering from long term abuse.

        You’re all of whats wrong. And yes, I’m judging you now, and you failed.

      • I pet goat 2 says:

        @hyrule Castle, +1

      • Kkat says:

        YES!! @Hyrule Castle 1000%+ this
        I’m judging the hell out of Lurker

  6. Lurker says:

    @hyrule castle… did I not say I judge men who do the same thing.

  7. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    Fifth incident? Shows how little the police care about domestic violence. I really had to push to have my ex put on the register, and they wouldn’t charge him.

  8. Chisey says:

    FWIW I think the reason people are more willing to extend empathy to Hayden Panettiere is because she is so clearly suffering. If she was out there living a fun child free life, people would side eye her for not being with her kid, but she’s clearly struggling just to get along on her own. I don’t think being equally judgmental towards a suffering and absent father recognizes that issue. You have to put your own oxygen mask before you can put your kid’s on, etc.

    • Sigmund says:

      Exactly. It’s an absolute tragedy that she can’t be more involved with her child’s life at this point, but she clearly has a lot to work through and her daughter’s father appears to be much more stable than Hayden. Hopefully one day that will change.

    • Lurker says:

      The thing is she was living carefree party life, with a guy who turned out to be a horrible abuser, but their are tons of pics of her looking wasted and living that carefree life, which is why I side-eyed. But I’m glad she’s in treatment for her alcohol issues and away from that pos

      • Watson says:

        Having addiction issues and having PPD is not living a carefree life.

      • serena says:

        Carefree? She was abused for years and you call that carefree just because you saw a few photos?

      • Chiara says:

        Being an alcoholic who is abused by your boyfriend is not “carefree party life,” holy shit you’re seriously off base and making hurtful comments here.

      • Ellie says:

        It’s funny how people say ‘side-eye’ to lessen the impact of what they’re actually doing which is ‘harshly judging without any actual information about the situation’.

      • Kkat says:

        So is Lurker Hayden’s X abuser? because they are sure doubling down all over the place to victim blame and mom shame

  9. Case says:

    I’m so happy she got away from this guy and is taking steps to improve her life. She always seemed like a nice person and it was unfortunate to see her life spiral in the way that it did.

  10. Green Desert says:

    I’m glad she got away from him. I hope she continues to say safe and gets any help she may need.

  11. Liz version 700 says:

    Thank goodness she seems finally to be rid of this man. I hope she is able to address her potential medical and psychological needs and stay safe