According to a story from News Dakota, Shannon Brandt has pled guilty to manslaughter for the September 18, 2022, death of Kayler Ellingson, who was 18 years old. Foster County State’s Attorney Kara E. Brinster reduced murder charges against Brandt to manslaughter with the agreement of Southeast Judicial District Judge Bradley Cruff, and this report came days after that decision.
At a street dance on the night of the crime, Brandt, then 42 years old, allegedly engaged in hostile verbal exchanges with the victim, then 18 years old. When the man started following him in his car, the scared adolescent contacted his mom to inform her what was happening.
Within a short time, Brandt crashed his 2003 Ford Explorer into Ellingson, knocking him unconscious. He proceeded to run over the teen’s “torso and legs,” ultimately resulting in the teen’s death. Brandt first departed the scene of the incident before later returning to make a 911 call.
Brandt said in his 911 call that the teen was part of a “right-wing extremist group,” an accusation that has since been 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,” Brandt said, according to a transcript of the call.
UPDATE: North Dakota DA gives plea deal to man who ran over conservative teen, Cayler Ellingson, allows him to plead to manslaughter charge https://t.co/xkhLLJhH8i— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 19, 2023
Brandt’s attorney praised the decision, saying that the murder charges were never warranted and were a result of media hype. “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,” Mark Friese, an attorney for Brandt, said in a statement.
In exchange for a guilty plea, the allegations of leaving the scene were withdrawn by the prosecution. Brinster said that the court has mandated a pre-sentence inquiry and that Brandt will stay out on bail “pending sentencing at a later date.” The Post Millennial claims that Brandt has also been placed under home arrest until he is sentenced.
He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.