Displaying 30+ Stories
Allow Ads

ND Man Pleads Guilty in Fatal Hit-and-Run Case, Claimed Teen Was a 'Republican Extremist'


Shannon Brandt, the North Dakota man who initially claimed that he ran over and killed an 18-year-old after a political argument, pleaded guilty to one felony count of manslaughter after prosecutors reduced the murder charge against him. 

As CBN News reported last September, Brandt, 42, of Glenfield, North Dakota, was originally charged with criminal vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly accident in the killing of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson, according to Inforum. The incident happened in McHenry, ND, located about 150 miles northeast of Bismarck, following a reported street dance. 

The case drew attention on social media because Brandt initially said he ran over Ellingson, who he called a Republican extremist, after an argument about politics.

Court documents reveal Brandt called 911 and told the dispatcher he just hit Ellingson, claiming the teen was part of a Republican extremist group. He claimed the teen was calling people to come and attack him after a political argument, Inforum reported. 

slider img 2

Law enforcement authorities said Brandt was allegedly drunk when he hit and killed Ellingson with his SUV in an alleyway in the early morning hours of Sept. 18, 2022.  

Ellingson was later pronounced dead at a Carrington hospital. Meanwhile, Brandt fled the scene and was arrested at his home in Glenfield, according to KVRR-TV. The criminal vehicular homicide charge against Brandt was later upgraded to felony murder. 

But investigators have since said the case was not political and there is no evidence to support Brandt's claim that Ellingson was a Republican extremist.

Foster County State Attorney Kara Brinster said in a news release that Brandt had been drinking and arguing with Ellingson before driving erratically and knocking the victim down with his car and running over his legs and torso.

A probable cause affidavit said Brandt left the scene and was visibly intoxicated when authorities found him at his home. It also revealed a breath test taken at the Stutsman County Jail registered 0.08, above the legal limit for alcohol.

The murder charge against Brandt was reduced to manslaughter on May 2, according to court documents. Brandt's attorney, Mark Friese, said at the time in an email to the Associated Press that Brinster chose to reduce the charge and it was not part of any plea deal.

Friese said state and defense forensic experts provided comprehensive reports confirming the tragedy was an accident. 

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Brandt remains free on bond pending sentencing. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Brandt is due in court on August 8 for a sentencing hearing, according to Fox News

As CBN News reported, a GoFundMe page was created by a friend to help Ellingson's family pay for their son's funeral expenses. A goal of $10,000 was set.  By Sept. 26, 2022, the day Ellingson was laid to rest, the page was disabled after 1,300 people donated $52,155.  

Nicole Clifton Geiszler, the page's organizer, posted a "Thank You" note to all of the people who donated to the fundraiser in an update. She also asked for continued prayers for the Ellingson family.  

"Today we have decided to close the donations coming in. The family has laid their beloved son, Cayler to rest today. Please continue to pray for the family of Cayler's for days months and years to come. We thank each and everyone for your love, kindness, thoughts, prayers, condolences, and all your generosity in the loss of such a wonderful young man," Geiszler wrote. 

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

Did you know?

God is everywhere—even in the news. That’s why we view every news story through the lens of faith. We are committed to delivering quality independent Christian journalism you can trust. But it takes a lot of hard work, time, and money to do what we do. Help us continue to be a voice for truth in the media by supporting CBN News for as little as $1.