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A former assistant United States attorney says that Shannon Brandt’s bond is “very low” and “woefully inadequate” for his alleged killing of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with an SUV.
Brandt, 41, used an SUV to hit Ellingson during the early morning hours of Sept. 18 and told a 911 operator that he hit the teenager because he was part of a “Republican extremist group” and was adding that he had a “political argument” with Ellingson, court documents show. Brandt also alleged that Ellingson was calling others to come “get him,” according to the documents.
Ellingson was severely injured and was taken to a local hospital, but later died.
Brandt was charged with criminal vehicular homicide, as well as leaving the scene of a crash involving a death after the incident. He was released from jail on Sept. 20 after posting a $50,000 bond, and wasn’t placed under house arrest or given a curfew.
CAYLER ELLINGSON’S ALLEGED KILLER NOT UNDER HOUSE ARREST, NO CURFEW AFTER POSTING ‘VERY LOW’ BOND: COURT DOCS
North Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind told Fox News Digital that there is “no evidence” suggesting that Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group” or that the incident involved politics.
Under the terms of the bail order, Brandt cannot leave North Dakota, cannot drink alcohol and must participate in a 24/7 sobriety program with constant testing.
Brandt also cannot possess “a firearm, destructive device, or other dangerous weapon,” and cannot go within 300 feet of the Ellingson family.
Former Assistant US Attorney Neama Rahman told Fox News Digital that the bond handed down to Brandt is “woefully inadequate.”
CAYLER ELLINGSON: FUNERAL SET FOR 18-YEAR-OLD ALLEGEDLY MOWED DOWN BY SHANNON BRANDT
“Yeah, it’s a low amount, no question. Whenever you’re dealing with a vehicular manslaughter case, that’s low in general,” Rahman said. “For those reasons, I think $50,000 is woefully inadequate for the bond in this case.”
Rahman said that because Brandt is accused of fleeing the scene of the incident on Sept. 18, he should be considered a flight risk.
He also said that prosecutors should have charged Brandt with first-degree murder.
“He acted intentionally,” Rahman said. “If you intentionally kill someone with a vehicle, that’s murder.”
NORTH DAKOTA COMMUNITY MEMBERS DESCRIBE CAYLER ELLINGSON AS AN ‘EXCEPTIONAL CHILD’ WITH BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD
When asked if he had ever seen any case like this, Rahman said “absolutely not.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “To issue a bond so low, it’s really sort of an unprecedented judicial decision. So hopefully prosecutors step up and do the right thing.”
A funeral for Ellingson is being held on Monday afternoon in Carrington, North Dakota.
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In a statement to Fox News Digital, Brant’s attorney, Mark Friese, said that he wants to give the family time to grieve before issuing a statement.
“It would be inappropriate for me to comment before a family and community have been given time to grieve. It is also premature for me to do so without first closely reviewing the evidence and case background,” Friese said.
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