Cayler Ellingson’s alleged killer released from jail

Fox News reports that Shannon Brandt, the 41-year-old North Dakota man accused of killing 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson over a political argument, has been released from jail. 

Brandt was released from North Dakota’s Stutsman County Jail on Tuesday after posting the $50,000 bond.

“Political argument” ends in death

It was early on Sunday morning that Brandt called the police to report that he had hit a pedestrian with his car. That pedestrian has since been identified as the 18-year-old Ellingson.

Brandt’s claim was that he did so because Ellingson was threatening him. Brandt claimed that Ellingson was part of a Republican extremist group that thought was “coming to get him.”

Authorities went to the scene of the crime where they found Ellingson. Both Brandt’s and Ellingson’s families appeared there as well. The teen was rushed to a nearby hospital, but his injuries were too severe to be overcome.

Authorities also went to Brandt’s home to question him. During questioning, Brandt made several admissions, including to consuming alcohol before the incident, to striking Ellingson with his car after a political argument, and to leaving the scene of the crash, returning, and then leaving again, all before the police arrived.

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Court documents have further revealed that Ellingson, before he was struck, called his mother to ask her if she knew who Brandt was. Ellingson’s mother said that she did and that she was coming to pick him up.

Not long thereafter, according to court documents, Ellingson called his mother again, this time to tell her that “he” or “they” were chasing him.

After that, Ellingson could not be reached by phone again.

The arrest, charges, and release

Authorities arrested Brandt on Sunday. He was brought to the Stutsman County Jail where he was charged with criminal vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash that involved a death. His bond was set at $50,000.

Brandt had only been in jail a few days before posting this bond and being released.

Social media posts indicate that many are troubled by the apparent leniency of the charges and by the fact that Brandt was able to get out of jail so soon, particularly after allegedly admitting to police what he had done. Many appear to be just as troubled by the apparent fact that an 18-year-old is now dead over a political argument.