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Shannon Brandt, 42, has reportedly entered a guilty plea of manslaughter after running down teenager Cayler Ellingson with his vehicle on September 18, 2022. Though he was initially brought up on a Class AA felony murder charge, he recently entered a plea agreement with the Foster County State’s Attorney Kara E Brinster, with the approval of Southeast Judicial District Judge Bradley Cruff, per News Dakota.
Brinster stated that the only charge which was dropped was leaving the scene of the crime, but Brandt still faces up to ten years in prison for the horrific incident.
Brinster noted that a pre-sentence investigation had been ordered by the court, and Brandt is to remain on bond “pending sentencing at a later date.” Brandt has also been put under house arrest, waiting for official sentencing.
While Brandt was initially charged with murder, the charge was downgraded to manslaughter by the DA. It is not clear why those charges were downgraded.
The report notes that Brandt, who had been drinking, entered into a verbal argument with Ellingson leading up to the incident. Ellingson had been attending a street dance, and called his mother when Brandt pursued him, stating that he was concerned.
The conflict came to a head when Brandt drove his 2003 Ford Explorer into Ellingson, knocking him down. He then drove over Ellingson’s “torso and legs thereby causing the death” of the teenager. Brandt then left the scene of the crime, coming back shortly afterwards to call 911.
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