A former Dairy Queen manager has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after she was accused of bullying a teenager worker until they took their own life.
Kenneth Suttner, 17, wrote several suicide notes to friends and family before he shot himself in the head in the early morning of December 21 outside his family’s home in Glasgow, Missouri.
Harley Branham, 21, Suttner’s former manager, was arrested earlier this month and charged with involuntary manslaughter over his death.
The 21-year-old did not enter a plea Tuesday and was released on $25,000 bond. If convicted, she faces up to four years in prison.
Suttner worked at this Dairy Queen in Fayette, Missouri. Former co-workers said Branham forced him to complete humiliating tasks and once threw a cheeseburger at him
The teen’s former Dairy Queen co-workers told the court that Branham repeatedly ridiculed Suttner and forced him to complete humiliating tasks, such as cleaning the floor by hand while lying on his stomach.
She once threw a cheeseburger at him because he made it wrong, said Allison Bennett, a former co-worker.
Many witnesses testified that Kenneth Suttner, a Glasgow High School junior, had been bullied for years at school and at work.
A coroner’s jury said that they found Branham, ‘was the principal in the cause of death’.
The six-person jury also found that Dairy Queen was negligent in training their employees and that the Glasgow School District failed to prevent the bullying.
After the verdict was read out in court, a Howard County sheriff’s deputy arrested Branham reported the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Branham’s attorney, Jeff Hilbrenner, told ABC News: ‘We look forward to the opportunity to present additional evidence and reviewing the evidence that the state intends to present in court.’
Her preliminary hearing is set for May 25.
Suttner’s family said in a statement that they hope the district finally will recognize the pervasive problem of bullying and address it.
‘They really feel that was Kenny’s voice today, and they feel like it’s justice for Kenny’, Wilson said.
Branham denies that she ever bullied Suttner.
‘There’s a lot of people at Dairy Queen saying I was the reason’ he killed himself, but I don’t understand why it would be that way’, she said in an earlier hearing.