NATIONAL NEWS

A North Dakota man was sentenced to 5 years in prison for running over and killing a teen last year

Sep 8, 2023, 3:14 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota man was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for running over and killing an 18-year-old after a small-town street dance last year in a case that drew the attention of Donald Trump after the driver initially claimed the teen was a “Republican extremist” who threatened him.

Shannon Brandt, of Glenfield, North Dakota, pleaded guilty in May to manslaughter in connection with Cayler Ellingson’s death in September 2022, in McHenry, North Dakota.

Brandt initially claimed he ran Ellingson over after a political argument and that the teen had threatened him and was part of a radical group, according to court documents. Authorities soon afterward said there was little evidence of a political nature to the case.

The case drew national attention and a social media outcry for its alleged political bent. Trump denounced the supposed political circumstances of Ellingson’s death in a rally shortly afterward.

A state district court judge on Friday sentenced Brandt to five years in prison with credit for nearly a year served, followed by three years’ supervised probation and a yearlong suspension of his driver’s license. The charge’s maximum penalty is 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.

He was initially charged with criminal vehicular homicide, which was later dropped. He was then charged with murder and later pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Brandt had also been charged with leaving the scene of the fatality, since dismissed in a plea deal.

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, according to an affidavit.

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.

Brinster and another prosecutor did not respond to phone messages from The Associated Press for comment on the sentence.

Defense attorney Mark Friese told the AP Brandt “is relieved to have finally been able to offer his apology and to allow the Ellingson family to move forward. It’s been a very difficult year for everyone involved.

“It got exacerbated by false information making it into the media and people using this tragedy to advance their political platforms,” Friese said.

National News

Associated Press

Shooting kills 3 people including a young child in a car on an Alabama street

Three people including a young child were killed when their car was targeted with multiple gunshots outside a residence in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday evening. The Birmingham Police Department said in a social media post that a triple homicide investigation was underway in the 3400 Block of 27th Street North. The police said officers responded […]

2 hours ago

Carlton Smith, left, and Justin Nimmo pose in from of the console of the Barton Opus 234 theater or...

Associated Press

Reviving Hollywood glamor of the silent movie era, experts piece together a century-old pipe organ

DETROIT (AP) — A massive pipe organ that underscored the drama and comedy of silent movies with live music in Detroit’s ornate Hollywood Theatre nearly a century ago was dismantled into thousands of pieces and stashed away. The Barton Opus, built in 1927, spent four decades stored in a garage, attic and basement in suburban […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator ...

Associated Press

Can a Medicaid plan that requires work succeed? First year of Georgia experiment is not promising

ATLANTA (AP) — By now, Georgia officials expected their new Medicaid plan, the only one in the nation with a work requirement, to provide health insurance to 25,000 low-income residents and possibly tens of thousands more. But a year since its launch, Pathways to Coverage has roughly 4,300 members, much lower than what state officials […]

4 hours ago

Catherine Ward, owner of One Acre Farms, a functioning educational farm to help special needs kids,...

Associated Press

After Beryl, Houston-area farmers pull together to face unique challenges

PORTER, Texas (AP) — Hurricanes cause trouble for everyone, but farmers have a whole other list of problems. Beryl has been no exception: Over the past week, the storm damaged crops, soaked rabbits and chickens, terrified goats, put horses at risk of developing colic and left cows without fences to keep them penned in. And […]

5 hours ago

Debris from the Titan submersible, recovered from the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic, is...

Associated Press

The first Titanic voyage in 14 years is happening in the wake of submersible tragedy. Hopes are high

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The company that owns the salvage rights to the Titanic is undertaking its first expedition to the ship’s wreckage in years, and those involved in the mission said they have both heavy hearts and lofty goals for a trip happening a year after a submersible disaster involving another firm killed five […]

5 hours ago

A person uses a cell phone on Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Los Angeles. The FBI Internet Crime Compl...

Associated Press

What’s worse than thieves hacking into your bank account? When they steal your phone number, too

WASHINGTON (AP) — One Monday morning in May, I woke up and grabbed my cell phone to read the news and scroll through memes. But it was out of cell service. I couldn’t make calls or texts. That, though, turned out to be the least of my problems. Using my home Wi-Fi connection, I checked […]

5 hours ago

A North Dakota man was sentenced to 5 years in prison for running over and killing a teen last year