Hayden Panettiere's Ex Brian Hickerson Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Assault Charges
Brian Hickerson was arrested on Thursday on multiple felony charges, including four charges of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant, two charges of assault and one of intimidating a witness
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."
Panettiere, 30, previously addressed the alleged abuse in a statement to PEOPLE.
"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."
Panettiere and Hickerson started dating after reports circulated that she and then-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko had split in August 2018. Panettiere and Klitschko, 44, share daughter Kaya, 5, who lives in Ukraine with her father.
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.
A source confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday that Panettiere had filed to register an out-of-state restraining order against Hickerson in California.
Hickerson was previously arrested on Valentine's Day in Jackson, Wyoming. He was charged with domestic battery and interference with a cop, both misdemeanor charges in Wyoming, a spokesperson for the Teton County Sheriff's Office told PEOPLE at the time. According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Hickerson allegedly punched Panettiere "with a closed fist on the right side of her face."
Hickerson reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charge in April. A jury trial was reportedly scheduled for September.
In May 2019, Hickerson was arrested on a domestic violence charge and released on bail. According to the felony complaint obtained by PEOPLE at the time, prosecutors had alleged Hickerson "willfully inflicted corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon Hayden P."
He pleaded not guilty to one count of felony domestic violence later that month; the case was dismissed at the end of September. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said at the time, "Our office was unable to proceed because we could not secure a material witness."
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.