Hayden Panettiere‘s family breaks their silence amid her boyfriend’s domestic violence case.
As we reported, Brian Hickerson pled not guilty to one count of felony domestic violence for an alleged incident at their residence after the couple went drinking in Hollywood.
According to People on Thursday, the Nashville star’s brood said in a statement:
“We are hopeful that the judge makes the right decision. It’s an important message in terms of domestic violence for all women.”
Per court documents obtained by Radar Online, on Wednesday, the aspiring actor appeared in court where Judge David Fields denied the motion to dismiss criminal charges against him, and declined to consider a lesser misdemeanor charge.
At the hearing, the prosecutor told the court the actress sustained injuries and bruises to her arms, ear, and neck area during the alleged May 2 incident, saying:
“He hit her on the face, causing her to get dizzy.”
Officer Amber Findley testified she and another officer responded to a call at a Los Angeles home at about 1:45 a.m.
When she approached the residence, she heard a female voice from inside the house say:
“Ow, ow, ow! You’re hurting me!”
When Hickerson answered the door, he initially said he was alone with his dogs, and the female voice was from the television.
However, when the officers entered, they reportedly found a bruised and swollen Panettiere in an upstairs bedroom.
“I think the reason why he didn’t want to tell us [Hayden] was inside was she was a celebrity… Right off the bat, I noticed that she had bruising on her eyelids, a swollen face. She did have marks on her neck, the left side. When I continued to talk to her she removed the sweater that she had on. I saw bruising on both her arms.”
After the pair returned from the bar, Hickerson allegedly struck her three times on the face with an open palm at the front door of the house.
“The third time, he caused her nose to bleed.”
Additionally, when Panettiere went to the upstairs bedroom to sleep, Hickerson allegedly “got on top of her and with hands grabbed her on the left and right side of her face.”
“The continued to argue within the residence, and one point the victim went upstairs to the master bedroom to go to sleep. The defendant got on top of her and with hands grabbed her on the left and right side of her face. The victim described the altercation as they began to grapple. He was on top of her and grabbed her face, I believe by the hair. They began to grapple and then she extended her arm outwards to gain distance.”
Panettiere also allegedly told Findley about a third assault that happened the day before in Puerto Rico.
Because of these allegations, Judge Fields told defense attorney Robert Hankoff that Hickerson would have to face the felony charge, explaining:
“I understand he has no record, but the problem I have, counsel, is that this was not the first attack… 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. Give 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.”
Previously, a protective order was issued where Brian must stay at least 100 yards away from Panettiere. He is also prohibited from contacting her.
If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
[Image via Brian Hickerson/Instagram/WENN.]