Charges for a North Dakota man who killed a teenager with his vehicle, in what authorities have alleged was a politically motivated attack, have been reduced by the local district attorney.
41-year-old Shannon Brandt was initially charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly accident after striking and killing 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson at a street dance in McHenry, North Dakota this past September.
Court papers, according to the Grand Forks Herald, indicated Brandt was the one who alerted authorities through a 911 call that he had struck the teenager.
The suspect claimed Ellingson “was part of a Republican extremist group and was calling people to come get Brandt after a political argument.”
Officials stated there is no evidence to support Brandt’s claim that the teenager was an actual “Republican extremist,” whatever that is, but the fact that he believed that to be the case seems to have been a motivating factor in what transpired.
Charges Reduced For Man Accused of Killing North Dakota Teenager He Thought Was a ‘Republican Extremist’
Brandt’s charges were at first upgraded from criminal vehicular homicide to murder with a dangerous weapon when an investigation revealed he had been drinking, had admitted to the dispatcher that it was “more than” an accident, and had fled the scene of the crime.
Foster County State’s Attorney Kara Brinster however, reduced the charges eight months after Ellingson’s death to manslaughter.
Brandt’s attorney claimed the charges were not reduced due to a plea deal and were amended at the DA’s discretion, but on Thursday, he pleaded guilty to the new charge of manslaughter.
Additionally, Brinster dropped the charge of leaving the scene of an accident in exchange for his guilty plea.
Brandt was initially facing a 20-year sentence but could now be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years.
Free on Bond
Shannon Brandt was freed after he posted a $50,000 bond, spending just days in a Stutsman County Jail after being arrested. He currently remains free on bond pending sentencing for the manslaughter charge.
He stated his belief that the victim was a “Republican extremist,” a phrase used and repeated verbatim by President Biden and nearly every prominent Democrat on a daily basis on social media.
One has to wonder if Brandt would have been treated this way if he had used a phrase such as ‘MAGA’ or some such equivalent coming from the right when calling to report that he had run over a teen he thought was a Democrat.