MCHENRY, ND (KXNET) — A Glenfield man has now been charged with murder after allegedly running over another person at a street dance in McHenry on September 18.
41-year-old Shannon Brandt was initially charged with vehicular homicide in the incident.
However, according to the Foster County State’s Attorney, based on additional information collected by the NDHP, the ND BCI, and an autopsy of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson that was conducted at the University of North Dakota Forensic Pathology Center, the Foster County State’s Attorney has filed a Criminal Information charging Shannon Joseph Brandt with Murder, a class AA Felony. The maximum penalty for a AA Felony is life imprisonment without parole.
Initial Incident and 911 Call
The incident between Brandt and Ellingson occurred on September 18, when Brandt called 911 that he had hit Ellingson with his vehicle and required an ambulance after a street dance in McHenry around 3 a.m.
According to the affidavit regarding the incident, Brandt explained why he hit Ellingson:
“Yes, I tried to take off en, he he wasn’t going to let me go, if I hit him I didn’t mean to and and he’s subdued I was scared to death but he’s subdued, he can’t do anything to me now so, so this is why I’m calling you. I mean I I almost oh god, I almost just runaway but I thought jeez obviously if it was a total accident I wouldn’t be scared but I know it was more than that.”
Brandt also stated that Ellingson had made phone calls to other people and that he was worried that they were on their way to the scene of the incident and that Ellingson supposedly told the people he called something to the effect of “you’re going to have to come here and handle him.”
Based on an investigation of Ellingson’s phone, the only calls he had made between 2-2:42 a.m. were to his mother and father.
Prior to Law Enforcement arriving on the scene, Brandt left the area and returned to his home in Glenfield, ND.
Officers then went to Glenfield later that night to contact Brandt who was visibly intoxicated and told the officers that he had hit Ellingson. Brandt was then arrested and transported to Stutsman County Correctional Facility.
The following day, September 19, an autopsy of Ellingson’s body was conducted at the University of North Dakota Forensic Pathology Center. Upon completion of the autopsy, doctors reported that the nature and manner of Ellingson’s injuries showed that he was on the ground when he received them.
Doctors indicated that this meant that the injuries weren’t caused by being hit by Brandt’s vehicle — they were caused by being run over.
Investigation of Brandt’s Vehicle
During the processing of Brandt’s Ford Explorer, investigators found little to no damage to the front of his vehicle. The only damage observed was five small cracks in the driver-side grill.
Ellingson’s Phone Calls with Parents
Investigators then spoke with both of Ellingson’s parents, with his mother stating that she had received a phone call from him at 2:27 a.m. the night of the incident. During the call, Ellingson told his mother that Brandt was asking who his parents were. After Ellingson told Brandt, he stated that he knew who his parents were.
The next call occurred at 2:34 a.m. when Ellingson called his mother again, asking if he should maybe call his cousins or posse. His mother said at that point she didn’t know if Ellingson was feeling threatened.
His mother then said not to worry about that and that she would be on her way to pick him up.
After missed calls to both his mother and father at 2:41 a.m., Ellingson was able to get in touch with his mother at 2:42 a.m. with Ellingson telling his mother something to the effect of they are after me or he is after me.
Ellingson’s mother said the call was dropped after that and that was the last time she spoke with him, there were no other calls after that.
Upon the initial arrest of Shannon Brandt, he was arrested by the NDHP and charged with Criminal Vehicular Homicide involving a Motor Vehicle, a Class A Felony, and Duty in Accident Involving Death, a B Felony.
After the investigation, the State of North Dakota found that the above charges were no longer appropriate and have now charged Brandt with Murder, a Class AA felony, and Duty in Accident Involving Death, a B Felony.
Brandt was arrested Friday, Sept. 30, and is currently being held in Stutsman County Correctional Center.