Shannon Brandt, an individual who admitted guilt in the fatal incident involving the conservative teenager Cayler Ellingson, 18, has received a five-year prison sentence as part of a plea agreement.
On the night of the incident, Brandt, aged 42, engaged in a verbal dispute with the 18-year-old during a street dance event. Ellingson, feeling threatened, reached out to his mother when Brandt began pursuing him in his vehicle.
Subsequently, Brandt struck Ellingson with his 2003 Ford Explorer, causing him to fall to the ground. Tragically, the impact resulted in the teen’s demise as Brandt’s vehicle drove over his torso and legs. Afterward, Brandt left the scene but returned shortly afterward to report the incident to 911.
During the 911 call, Brandt asserted that the young man had connections to a “right-wing extremist organization,” a statement that has been extensively disproven.
“He was threatening me with something to have to do with something with an extremist Republican group. And then he made a phone call. He made a phone call saying, ‘I thought he was Republican (background noise) or something. You’re going have to come here and handle him.’ I got scared to death. I didn’t know what to do,” as indicated in the call transcript, Brandt stated.
Based on information from KFGO, the judge took into account Brandt’s psychological condition when making the ruling. Judge Bradley Cruff devoted a substantial portion of the sentencing process to discussing Brandt’s autism diagnosis, which experts indicated had an effect on his capacity to understand social contexts and led to an overly heightened reaction during the encounter with Ellingson.
“You didn’t intentionally run him over. I acknowledge that. I understand what the experts in this case are saying about how your mind works. And you didn’t intentionally kill Cayler. But he did die. And that’s a result of your alcohol consumption. You recklessly pushed Cayler to the ground with your SUV, you recklessly ran him over, and you recklessly killed him,” Cruff stated.
Several members of Ellingson’s family addressed the court during the sentencing proceeding, including his mother, Sheri. She urged the judge to set aside the plea deal and impose the highest allowable penalty for manslaughter, which is a 10-year prison term.