North Dakota man pleads guilty to manslaughter for hitting Republican teen with car

Brandt claimed in a 911 call that he felt threatened by Ellingson due to his alleged connection with a "Republican extremist group."
Crime scene

A North Dakota man, Shannon Brandt, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Thursday after hitting a teenager with a car last year, citing concern that the teenage boy was connected to a "Republican extremist" group. 

Eighteen-year-old Cayler Ellingson was killed after being struck by Brandt’s vehicle in September 2022. 

Foster County State Attorney Kara Brinster said that Brandt was drinking and arguing with the teenager before the incident occurred, according to The Associated Press.

Brandt claimed that he felt threatened by Ellingson due to his alleged connection to a “Republican extremist group."

“He was threatening me with something to have to do with — something with an extremist Republican group. And then he made a phone call. He made a phone call saying, ‘I thought he was Republican (background noise) or something. You’re going have to come here and handle him.’ I got scared to death. I didn’t know what to do,” according to a filing of Brandt's 911 call.

But investigators say that there was no evidence showing that Ellingson was part of a Republican extremist group and that their disagreement wasn't political, according to the AP. 

The prosecution dropped the charge of leaving the scene of an accident in exchange for Brandt's guilty plea, and he remains free on bond. He could face up to 10 years in prison.