boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, has appeared in court this week after an alleged domestic violence incident where he allegedly hit the actress in the face at their home in Los Angeles.
Former real estate agent and aspiring actor Hickerson, 30, was charged on May 23 with following his arrest a few weeks earlier. Hickerson pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Court documents obtained by reveal that at Wednesday’s court appearance, a Los Angeles superior judge heard testimony from the police officer who responded to the domestic violence call. The judge refused to dismiss criminal charges and drop the case.
“We are hopeful that the judge makes the right decision. It’s an important message in terms of domestic violence for all women,” Panettiere’s family tells .
During the hearing, the judge explained the decision to continue the trial by recounting the alleged assault committed by Hickerson.
“I understand he has no record, but the problem I have, counsel, is that this was not the first attack,” the judge said, according to Radar. “Just very recently, prior to this in Puerto Rico, something happened… and those are the marks on the victim. This happened twice this time. It wasn’t enough for him to cause her nose to bleed by hitting her with an open palm… he followed her into the bedroom and was the aggressor again, causing that severe swelling and bruising on the cheek and marks on her neck. Given that, in my mind, the evidence has shown these are three different attacks by your client on this victim, once in Puerto Rico and twice that night… I’m going to hold him on the felony.”
Panettiere and Hickerson started dating in August 2017 after meeting through mutual friends.
The Nashville star was linked to Hickerson shortly after reports that she and then-fiancé Wladamir Klitschko had split.
If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their . In an emergency, call 000.
Celebrity breakups of 2019