Man sentenced to 5 years in prison for death of Foster County teen

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 2:54 PM CDT
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FOSTER COUNTY, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A Glenfield, North Dakota, man is sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in the death of an 18-year-old last September.

A judge handed down the sentence for Shannon Brandt on Friday, September 8. Brandt was given credit for 356 already served behind bars. His five-year sentence will be followed by three years of supervised probation.

Brandt’s lawyer, Mark Friese, told Valley News Live following the sentencing, “Shannon is pleased that the matter is concluded and hopes those affected can begin to heal.”

Brandt, 42, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May 2023 for running over 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson after a street dance in McHenry, North Dakota in September 2022.

Court documents say Brandt called 911 and said he hit Ellingson because he was being threatened. Documents say Brandt told police the 18-year-old was part of a republican extremist group and that he was afraid they were coming to get him.

Brandt admitted to drinking before the incident, and told deputies that he initially left the crash scene, then returned to call 911, but left again before deputies could arrive.

Brandt was initially charged with vehicular homicide, before it was upgraded to murder. In May, the charged was reduced to manslaughter.

A GoFundMe page for Ellingson’s family raised more than $52,000, and several area businesses also hosted events and raised funds to support the Ellingson family since the teen’s death.