A drunk North Dakota driver who ran over and killed an 18-year-old and then tried to blame it on politics has been sentenced to a measly five years in prison for manslaughter, though he’s expected to only serve four thanks to credit for nearly a year served.
The convicted driver, Shannon Brandt, ran over 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with his 2003 Ford Explorer after the two got into an argument following a small-town “street dance” on Sept. 18th, 2022.
“Brandt had been drinking before the argument with Ellingson, whom he struck and knocked down with his SUV after a verbal argument, driving over his torso and legs, according to prosecutor Kara Brinster. An autopsy determined Ellingson was on the ground when he was fatally injured,” the Associated Press reported Friday
“Brandt called 911 and told a dispatcher he had hit a man with his vehicle and requested an ambulance, according to the court document. He allegedly left the scene before officers arrived, and was later arrested at his home in Glenfield, where officers found him ‘visibly intoxicated,’ according to the affidavit.”
The case initially attracted massive political attention because Brandt suggested Ellingson was part of what he termed a “Republican extremist group.”
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) September 22, 2022
“An arrest affidavit filed by a North Dakota State Patrol officer states that Brandt told a 911 operator that Ellingson ‘wouldn’t let me leave.’ According to the affidavit, Brandt also told the 911 operator that Ellingson was calling other people to ‘get him,'” according to Fox News.
“He got on my vehicle and I couldn’t get him away from me,” Brandt reportedly said during the call. “He was threatening me. He was saying something about some Republican extremist group, saying, ‘I thought he was part of us.’”
A subsequent investigation found no evidence that Ellingson was part of an “Republican extremist group,” that Brandt’s actions had been motivated by politics, or that Brandt is himself in any way a Democrat who hates Republicans.
“There is no evidence in public records or court filings suggesting Mr. Brandt is a Democrat,” The New York Times notes.
“I can honestly tell you, I don’t know who Shannon voted for in the last presidential election,” Ashley Brandt-Duda, his sister, told the paper. “I would say my family is quite apolitical.”
Nevertheless, anger is now mounting over Brandt’s pathetic sentence of only five years. Supposing that the killing really wasn’t politically motivated, critics say it’s still absurd for someone to receive a paltry five years in prison for getting drunk and then fatally running somebody over:
5 years for murder? Is this some type of joke? Unbelievable.
— Silver Girl (@ninabina_bobina) September 10, 2023
He should have got life without parole. That was premeditated.
— Dan Stilwell (@realdanstilwell) September 8, 2023
5 years is a joke. Meanwhile non-violent crimes are being punished with 20+ years
— J (@RowTide09) September 10, 2023
Seems like a light sentence to me. 5 years is too short a sentence for killing someone.
— Jimmy Six (@SIXJIMMYSIX) September 10, 2023
Well, apparently if you ever want to kill someone, don’t use a gun, use your car, you will be out in about 3 years with good behavior.
— Andrew the Millwright (@JdubAndrew) September 9, 2023
Of course, this is assuming politics really didn’t matter. Many critics still stubbornly believe Ellingson’s murder was politically motivated, and they’re not necessarily wrong to think this.
“In phone calls, Mr. Brandt and Mr. Ellingson both made a reference to some sort of political dispute. Both called family members during the encounter, and each described feeling threatened, according to court records,” even the Times admits.
“Mr. Ellingson told his mother ‘some politics had got brought up’ and Mr. Brandt ‘didn’t like what he had to say,’ according to a state Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent who interviewed Mr. Ellingson’s mother. She recalled her son saying ‘something to the effect of, ‘They’re on to me. I should round up my cousins or my posse,” the agent testified.”
Based on this, and also based on the fact that an alleged Jan. 6th rioter who wasn’t even at the riot was just sentenced to decades in prison, the critics who think Ellingson’s murder was politically motivated are beyond livid over Brandt’s sentence.
Should have been life!
— Shekeepsgoing (@shekeepsgoing) September 9, 2023
If the political parties were reversed we all know how this would have gone down.. life in prison
— Fighting the Left 24/7 (@RiskyBizzzz) September 9, 2023
22 years for a guy who wasn’t even at the capitol on j6, 5 years for a murder that was technically a hate crime??? WTF
— Gooseman007 (@Gooseman0071) September 9, 2023
The mere five-year sentence for Shannon Brandt, who took a young life based on political affiliation, is a glaring example of justice system inconsistency. It’s deeply concerning, especially considering the timing relative to rhetoric that labeled certain political beliefs as…
— L. Ron Hubbard (Parody) (@FakeLRonHubbard) September 9, 2023
The man on the left, Enrique Tarrio, was just sentenced to 22 years in prison for “seditious conspiracy” in the J6 riot even though he wasn’t at the Capitol.
The man on the right, Shannon Brandt, who ran over & killed an 18 year old Donald Trump supporter, was just sentenced to… pic.twitter.com/QZYq8QwrvK
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) September 9, 2023
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