Kenneth Suttner

FAYETTE — A judge has ruled in favor of the Glasgow Public School District in a case regarding documents related to the death investigation of Kenneth Suttner.

Judge Scott Hayes ruled that the Howard County coroner’s office is to pay for the school district’s legal fees and a civil penalty, totaling to $74,000. The ruling comes three years after Suttner’s death, who died by suicide in December 2016.

According to previous KMZU reporting, a 2017 coroner’s inquest found bullying at Glasgow Schools and the Dairy Queen where he worked responsible Suttner’s death. The inquest also found that Glasgow school administrators hadn’t done enough to stop the bullying. The district sued the coroner’s office over what it said was “limited access” to documents in the investigation.

In his ruling, Judge Hayes said the coroner’s office wrongly denied access to the records by claiming it was a closed investigation. Hayes ruled the coroner’s office is unable to close records because it is not a law enforcement agency.

According to KOMU, a wrongful death suit filed by Suttner’s mother against the school district was settled in August 2019.

The Columbia Missourian also won a lawsuit against the coroner’s office after being denied a copy of the transcript of the inquest.

Harley Branham, the former manager of the Dairy Queen where Suttner worked, was charged in connection with his death. She pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to two years’ probation, according to KOMU.