Hayden Panettiere’s boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, will be arraigned for the felony domestic violence charge he was arrested for in May after allegedly hitting the Nashville star.
The aspiring actor, 30, appeared in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday, July 10, at which time a judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for the charge to stick. A police officer testified during the hearing, noting that she arrived at the residence to find Panettiere, 29, bruised and swollen. The former child star told authorities about three separate incidents of alleged domestic violence on Hickerson’s part.
The South Carolina native’s lawyer asked the judge to dismiss the charge, claiming that the couple were both responsible for the alleged incident. The judge, who called Hickerson “the aggressor,” declined the motion as well as a later move by the attorney to bargain down to a misdemeanor charge.
Officer Amanda Findley testified on Wednesday that Panettiere had “marks on her neck” and “bruising on both her arms” after police were called to the L.A. home at 1:45 a.m. in May. The actress had bruising and swelling on her face and a bite mark on her arm.
Hickerson could face a maximum of four years in state prison if convicted of the felony charge.
Police reportedly found Panettiere with “redness and marks” on her body after an argument between her and Hickerson, which led to his arrest. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in May, while a judge granted a protective order that required him to stay 100 yards away from the actress.
The Heroes alum’s loved ones hoped that the order would serve as a wakeup call. “The restraining order is the beginning of something good,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively in May. “Change is different, and to be honest with yourself, but everyone is very afraid for Hayden, and her friends and family believe that people with this history do not change overnight.”
Another insider revealed that Panettiere’s family and friends worried that the pair, who were first linked in August 2018, could be violating the protective order. “There is not one single person out there who isn’t concerned about Hayden,” the source said. “What Brian did to Hayden is unacceptable behavior, and it’s not to be tolerated.”