Actor Nicholas Brendon, known for co-starring on the TV shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Criminal Minds,” pleaded not guilty today to a felony domestic violence charge stemming from an alleged attack on his girlfriend at a Palm Springs hotel.
Brendon was with his girlfriend in the bar of Saguaro hotel on Oct. 17, 2017, when they got into an argument and he allegedly yanked her arm and “violently” pulled her by her hair, Palm Springs police Sgt. William Hutchinson said.
The 48-year-old actor could face up to four years in prison if convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, according to prosecutors.
A protective order — valid through May 13, 2022 — was served on Brendon at his arraignment at the Larson Justice Center. The details of the order protecting Jane Doe were not released to the public.
Actor Nicholas Brendon attends the Motor City Comic Con on May 16, 2014, in Novi, Michigan. He is charged with assaulting a girlfriend in October 2017. He was formally charged in May 2019. (Photo: Getty Images)
Brendon, who has spoken publicly about his battles with depression, alcoholism and substance abuse, is due back in court on July 17 for a felony settlement conference.
According to court documents, the alleged attack began when Doe tried to leave the hotel’s bar after two beers while Brendon wanted to take shots of tequila.
“Doe stated she ‘knows how he gets’ when he drinks tequila, so she decided to leave the lobby bar and go to their room,” according to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant. “Doe stated when she got up to leave the lobby bar area, Brendon grabbed her by the hair.”
The hotel’s front desk supervisor told investigators that although Doe did not fall to the ground when her hair was pulled, “her head was completely turned on its side as a result of Brendon pulling her hair,” according to the document. The pair then left the bar and went outside through a glass door, where the desk supervisor alleged she saw Brendon repeat the action again and “stated she could hear Doe scream ‘Quit pulling my hair!’” before being pushed to the ground.
Later on in the day while officers were interviewing Doe, she was escorted to the bathroom by the same supervisor, who said “she saw Doe run her hands through her hair and a substantial amount of Doe’s hair fell off her head and onto the floor,” according to the declaration, which alleges the details provided by the hotel employee were confirmed by surveillance footage from the hotel.
Nicholas Brendon was arrested in Palm Springs on Oct. 11. (Photo: Courtesy Palm Springs PD)
Police were alerted to the suspected altercation by hotel employees, and Brendon was arrested at the scene on suspicion of felony domestic violence and violating active protective orders. The orders, which were issued in two other states, allowed the actor to be near the woman, but prohibited him from harassing, threatening, injuring or assaulting her, according to Hutchinson said.
Brendon was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and was released on $50,000 bail the following day, jail records show. The felony charge was filed against him on April 30 of this year.
Brendon has had a series of brushes with the law beginning in 2004, including arrests for grand theft, resisting arrest, battery against a peace officer and vandalism in Los Angeles, Boise, Idaho and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He pleaded guilty to criminal mischief following a 2015 arrest for allegedly grabbing his girlfriend by the throat.
Brendon portrayed Xander Harris on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” during the entirety of its seven-season run, which ended in 2003, and as Kevin Lynch on “Criminal Minds” from 2007 to 2014.
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