UPDATE: Involuntary manslaughter charge dropped in Kenneth Suttner case

8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago Wednesday, January 24 2018 Jan 24, 2018 Wednesday, January 24, 2018 1:28:00 PM CST January 24, 2018 in News
By: Tyler Emery, KOMU 8 Reporter
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HOWARD COUNTY - A woman accused of bullying a Glasgow teenager to suicide had one count dropped against her on Wednesday.

Harley Branham appeared at a preliminary hearing at the Howard County courthouse Wednesday morning. She is a former Dairy Queen manager who had worked with Kenneth Suttner and is accused of bullying and harassing the teen.

Prosecutors say her treatment of Suttner eventually led to his suicide in Dec. 2016.

KOMU 8 News previously reported on the coroner's inquest in early 2017 where people who testified said Branham targeted Suttner and forced him to do humiliating chores, such as cleaning the floor while on his stomach and verbally abusing him.

The jury at the inquest also said Dairy Queen was negligent in training its employees in harassment prevention and resolution. 

Special prosecutor April Wilson, representing the Suttner family, dropped the involuntary manslaughter charge once Branham waived her preliminary hearing in court.

Wilson said the Suttner family is supportive, despite the dismissal of the charge.

"They just want to know that justice is served and that Kenny's voice is heard," Wilson said. "When you get to a point like that, it's not vengeful it's certainly just about their child and justice for him."

Branham's defense attorney Jeffrey Hilbrenner spoke with KOMU 8 News on the phone about the preliminary hearing.

Hilbrenner said despite the involuntary manslaughter charge being dropped, Branham still faces serious charges and they are "looking forward to fighting them in court."

Branham still faces one felony count of aggravated stalking and several misdemeanor counts of harassment and assault. Her arraignment date is set for March 7.

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