School and Dairy Queen could be charged in teen's suicide

Kenneth Suttner, 17, had been bullied for years at school and at work before he shot himself in the head outside his home

Kenneth Suttner, 17, had been bullied for years at school and at work before he shot himself in the head outside his home

In a rare move, a Missouri jury ruled that a manager at a Dairy Queen be charged with involuntary manslaughter for her role in the suicide of a 17-year-old employee. 

The Howard County coroner sought an official inquest into the teenager's December death, meaning a jury was assembled to hear evidence with a judge. 

The process is similar to a grand jury but is public.

Many witnesses testified that Kenneth Suttner, a Glasgow High School junior, had been bullied for years at school and at work, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported. 

Suttner 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 Howard County. 

Special prosecutor April Wilson questions former Dairy Queen manager Harley Branham about allegations she bullied worker Kenneth Suttner

Special prosecutor April Wilson questions former Dairy Queen manager Harley Branham about allegations she bullied worker Kenneth Suttner

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 

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 

Wilson holds a photograph of Suttner. A Howard County coroner's jury ruled Tuesday that the teen's December suicide was caused by involuntary manslaughter

Wilson holds a photograph of Suttner. A Howard County coroner's jury ruled Tuesday that the teen's December suicide was caused by involuntary manslaughter

The jury on Tuesday concluded that negligence from a Dairy Queen in Fayette and the Glasgow School District contributed to Suttner's death. 

After the verdict was read, a Howard County sheriff's deputy arrested Harley Branham, one of Suttner’s managers when he worked at Dairy Queen, on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, reported the St Louis Post-Dispatch. 

Branham has been placed on a 24-hour hold, said special prosecutor April Wilson. 

Suttner's former Dairy Queen co-workers said Branham repeatedly ridiculed him 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.

Branham said she never bullied

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