Shannon Brandt ran over an 18-year-old kid, he said in self-defense because the other man was a right-wing extremist and was probably calling for more extremists to come and hurt him.
So, he ran him over.
For a time, he was only charged with basically killing someone in a drunk driving accident. Those charges completely ignored Brandt’s own admission that he intended to cause harm.
Well, now he’s charged with actual murder. However, there are still issues.
Ed wrote about this story last week after Shannon Brandt was released on a paltry $50,000 bail. That seemed extremely low for what looked like a murder. But at the time, Brandt was only charged with criminal vehicular homicide which is the unintentional killing of someone with a car. Today, those charges were dropped and replaced with a homicide charge.
So this case has at least been upgraded to the proper charge for which the initial bail amount was obviously insufficient. But the main reason this story got so much attention was that Brandt claimed he ran over 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson because they’d had a political dispute. He claimed during his 911 call that Ellingson was an extremist Republican which made the incident sound like a politically-motivated murder. But police announced a few days ago they said there is no evidence politics were involved.
North Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind told Fox News Digital on Sunday that there’s “no evidence” that Ellingson was a “Republican extremist” or that the incident involved politics.
“We have uncovered no evidence to support Mr. Brandt’s claim on the 911 call he made that Cayler Ellingson is a Republican extremist, nor that this incident involved politics,” Niewind said. “This is a terrible tragedy for the Ellingson family. We continue to investigate what led up to the incident, the crash itself and the claim made by Brandt. But, at this time there has been no evidence to corroborate Brandt’s statement.”
So Brandt said this on his 911 call, but because the police can’t find evidence that Ellingson actually was an extremist, it wasn’t politically motivated?
Honestly, that’s certainly how I’m reading that, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if I’m reading it accurately. How does the reality of Ellingson’s politics change Brandt’s motives based on his own beliefs?
I mean, if a man kills his wife because he thinks she’s cheating, only she wasn’t, does that really change the motive?
Now, it does appear that Brandt is a fairly disturbed individual. One neighbor argued that Brandt should have been committed to a mental health facility.
Others claim that politics didn’t play a factor, only Brandt’s mental health.
But the only kind of insanity that gives you a pass is whether or not you can tell right from wrong, and there’s no evidence Brandt can’t.
What’s more, it seems very clear that regardless of what police officials are saying, this was politically motivated, even if the politics in question were the result of something Brandt believed as opposed to what is actually true.
Honestly, this is going to be one to watch going forward because there are still a lot of unanswered questions. In fact, after this, I think there are more questions than there were before.