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.”
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.
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.