Woman in Missouri bullying case pleads to misdemeanor

FAYETTE, Mo. (AP) — A former rural Missouri Dairy Queen manager accused of bullying a 17-year-old employee who eventually killed himself has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and won’t go to prison.

Harley Branham of Fayette pleaded guilty to third-degree assault on Friday and was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and 30 days of house arrest.

Kenneth Suttner shot himself at his home on Dec. 21, 2016. Prosecutors initially charged Branham with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated stalking and other crimes, alleging that her bullying of the teenager contributed to his suicide. The felony charges were all dropped.

Branham’s attorney, Jeffrey Hilbrenner, says Suttner “was picked on by lots and lots of people” during his life and Branham’s plea was her admission that she played a role in adding to his difficulties.

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