Shannon Brandt, 42, has reportedly entered a guilty plea of manslaughter after running down teenager Cayler Ellingson with his vehicle on September 18, 2022. Though he was initially brought up on a Class AA felony murder charge, he recently entered a plea agreement with the Foster County State's Attorney Kara E Brinster, with the approval of Southeast Judicial District Judge Bradley Cruff, per News Dakota.
Brinster stated that the only charge which was dropped was leaving the scene of the crime, but Brandt still faces up to ten years in prison for the horrific incident.
Brinster noted that a pre-sentence investigation had been ordered by the court, and Brandt is to remain on bond “pending sentencing at a later date.” Brandt has also been put under house arrest, waiting for official sentencing.
While Brandt was initially charged with murder, the charge was downgraded to manslaughter by the DA. It is not clear why those charges were downgraded.
The report notes that Brandt, who had been drinking, entered into a verbal argument with Ellingson leading up to the incident. Ellingson had been attending a street dance, and called his mother when Brandt pursued him, stating that he was concerned.
The conflict came to a head when Brandt drove his 2003 Ford Explorer into Ellingson, knocking him down. He then drove over Ellingson’s “torso and legs thereby causing the death” of the teenager. Brandt then left the scene of the crime, coming back shortly afterwards to call 911.
Mark Friese, Brandt’s lawyer, previously said: "There is no evidence to support the misplaced allegation of intentional homicide.”
"The state and defense forensic experts have provided comprehensive reports confirming this tragedy was an accident. Misplaced media hype and community conjecture is no substitute for evidence."
The development has caused outrage on social media, with Reed Cooper tweet: “BREAKING: Leftist ND DA Kara Brinster has dropped the murder charge against the demon who ran over Cayler Ellingson! In Sept., 18-year-old Cayler was murdered by being hit by an SUV driven by a drunk 41-year-old anti-Trump demon after a ‘political argument’ because the demon dubbed Ellingson a ‘political extremist.’ Rest In Peace, Cayler.
Under Cooper’s tweet, he posted a photo of a statement that former President Donald Trump made about the situation, which said: “A young man. So handsome. Beautiful. 18-years-old. Was targeted and killed, run down in cold blood with an SUV by a radical left maniac. Suppose a MAGA person ran somebody down on the other side.”
Ellingson was not a member of a “Republican extremist” group, which was what Brandt had originally claimed, he was a conservative teen.
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