The 41-year-old man who allegedly admitted to murdering a Republican teenager over politics at the start of the week said this week in court that he did not want to lose things in his life due to bond because of the charges.
Shannon Brandt was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving a death after he allegedly hit and killed Cayler Ellingson on Sunday in McHenry, a small town two hours northwest of Fargo, North Dakota. He posted bond on Tuesday.
Brandt said that he objected to the $50,000 bond that was set because he was not a flight risk.
He said, “I have a job, a life and a house and things that I don’t exactly want to see go by the wayside — family that are very important to me.”
Brandt had a tough time understanding the charges against him in the killing of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson.
"I have a job, a life and a house and things I don't want to see go by the wayside—family that are very important to me," Brandt told a judge at his first court hearing. pic.twitter.com/UG9vc9PvTV
— Mia Cathell (@MiaCathell) September 21, 2022
Citing court documents, WDAY reported that Brandt told police the death stemmed from an argument over politics.
“He was the one who called 911 to report the crash,” said North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind.
Brandt called 911 around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and told a dispatcher he had run down Ellingson, the site reported, citing a criminal complaint. Brandt, who police say was drunk, claimed Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group” and was urging others to attack Brandt after a political argument.
“Brandt admitted to striking the pedestrian with his car because he had a political argument with the pedestrian and believed the pedestrian was calling people to come get him,” court documents state. “Brandt admitted to leaving the scene of the incident and returning shortly after where he called 911.”
Prosecutors allege Ellingson called his mom moments before he was killed to say Brandt, who she knows, was chasing him after an event described as a street dance. By the time the woman arrived at the scene, her son was dead in an alleyway. The heartbroken mother told police she does not believe her son knew his killer.
“We are still trying to determine what, exactly, transpired at the time of crash and prior to that as well,” Niewind said. “We do not know of any witnesses. We are still making attempts to interview potential witnesses from the street dance, people that were present prior to the crash happening.”
The attack comes just a couple of weeks after President Joe Biden declared that “MAGA Republicans,” or people who support former President Donald Trump, represented “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”