Hayden Panettiere’s boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, is facing charges over an alleged domestic violence incident against the actress and now her family are speaking out.
The “Nashville” star’s family tells People, “We are hopeful that the judge makes the right decision. It’s an important message in terms of domestic violence for all women.”
On May 23, Hickerson was charged with one count of felony domestic violence after his arrest on May 3. He is pleading not guilty.
RELATED: Report: Hayden Panettiere’s Friends Are ‘Worried’ About Her Relationship With Brian Hickerson, But The Actress Is Not
Court documents obtained by RadarOnline show that Hickerson appeared in court on Wednesday. After an L.A. superior judge heard testimony from the responding officer they denied the motion to dismiss criminal charges and declined to consider a lesser misdemeanour charge.
“I understand he has no record, but the problem I have, counsel, is that this was not the first attack,” the judge said, reports 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. 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.”
ET Canada has reached out to Panettiere’s rep for a comment on the case.
RELATED: Hayden Panettiere’s Boyfriend Brian Hickerson Arrested For Domestic Violence Following Drunken Argument
The pair have been linked for around a year but her friends have been worried for some time. “Hayden knows Brian has a bad temper and can be controlling, but there is an extreme attraction to it,” the insider told People in May. “And despite warnings from family and friends, the relationship seems solid.”
Panettiere started her relationship with Hickerson after splitting from longtime fiance Wladimir Klitschko who she shares daughter Kaya, 4, with.
If you are suffering domestic abuse, or suspect someone that is, you can find the right hotline number for your area in Canada here.