Surprising news out of a Los Angeles County courtroom today, as Radar Online is reporting that Brian Hickerson -- the controversial boyfriend of actress Hayden Panettiere -- will not be charged with domestic assault.
Hickerson was arrested back in May after police responded to a 911 call from Hayden's neighbors.
The case appeared to be open and shut, as neighbors testified that they heard sounds of an argument, followed by a female voice crying out in pain.
It was later revealed that Hickerson had been charged with brutally beating Panettiere three times over the course of two days and was expected to serve time behind bars for the attacks.
In a stunning turn of events, however, Panettiere refused to testify against her ex in court.
According to Radar, Hayden's family was contacted and informed that if the actress did not show up for today's hearing, the prosecution would be left without witnesses and would have no choice but to drop the charges.
It's possible that the DA might subpoena Panettiere at a later date, which would mean re-filing charges against Hickerson.
“If they subpoena her, they’d reopen the case,” a source close to the case tells Radar.
The insider revealed that Hayden's family is “disappointed” in the outcome but uncertain as to whether or not they should encourage the actress to take the steps necessary to see that Hickerson is brought to justice.
“With all the evidence the police had, it’s not enough even without Hayden? It’s a fault in our judicial system,” says the informant.
“It is not on Brian’s own good behavior that this got dismissed. It doesn’t change who is and what he has done. He is a criminal.”
Despite the perceived miscarriage of justice, it seems likely that Hickerson will not face a second trial, as it appears that Hayden would prefer to simply move on with her life.
According to the source, she and Hickerson “planned this” outcome, and the charges were “never going to go through" per an arrangement they reached ahead of the trial date.
“It doesn’t shed a good light on Hayden," says the insider.
"It’s a bad choice to avoid the summons and not follow through,” the source continues.
“It’s certainly not the end of the journey for Hayden or Brian.”
We'd like to point out that it's important to avoid victim-shaming in a case such as this, and it's crucial Hayden do whatever is best for her mental health
If there's any bright side to this situation, it's that Hayden and Brian appear to have finally parted ways.
Unfortunately, it looks as though the actress and her ex still run in the same social circle due to the fact that Panettiere is now dating Hickerson's brother.
We'll have further updates on this ongoing story as more information becomes available.