FAYETTE — Harley Branham, who once faced a manslaughter charge in connection with Kenneth Suttner’s death, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one remaining felony charge and four misdemeanor charges.

The former Dairy Queen manager was accused of contributing to the suicide death of 17-year-old Suttner in 2016 because of bullying. She initially faced a charge of involuntary manslaughter, two felony charges of aggravated stalking and four misdemeanors.

The manslaughter charge and one of the stalking charges has since been dismissed.

A reading of the list of charges was waived at Branham’s arraignment Wednesday morning in the Howard County Courthouse. Her attorney, Jeffrey Hilbrenner, said she pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated stalking — a felony — and four misdemeanors: two counts of assault in the third degree and two counts of harassment in the first degree.

Branham will have another court appearance in May, when the case will be reviewed.

“We have a court date in May ... to inform the judge kind of where things stand,” Hilbrenner said. “But at this point, the prosecuting attorney, after today, is obligated to start turning over the evidence to us so we can evaluate it and scrutinize it.”

Missouri law requires evidence to be given to the defense after the arraignment.

A trial date could potentially be set after her May appearance. It depends on how much time the defense needs to review evidence and prepare for trial, Hilbrenner said.

  • I'm a public life reporter for the Missourian, and I am a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Reach me at (636) 577-6845 if you have story tips, ideas or complaints.

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