“I just wanna ask you a question, am I going to prison?”
That was the question asked earlier this month by a North Dakota native accused of running over 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson because he was a "Republican extremist" and had threatened him. On Friday, North Dakota prosecutors charged the man with murder.
After a street dance in McHenry, North Dakota, authorities claim that Shannon Brandt, 41, hit Ellingson with his SUV and killed him. He was detained early on September 18 as a result. The politically motivated death in a village of only 64 people made worldwide headlines.
Brandt, who police claimed was intoxicated and fled the scene, told the 911 operator that Ellingson was a member of a "Republican extreme organization" and had tried to "get him." The document said Brandt indicated on the call that the incident was intentional.
Just before he was slain, Ellingson contacted his mother at just after 2:30 a.m. to report that he was being pursued following the street dance. According to authorities, she assured her son she would pick him up, but when she got there, her son had already been fatally hit in an alleyway.
Initially accused of vehicular homicide, Brandt was released from the Stutsman County Jail on September 20 after posting a $50,000 bail. The North Dakota Highway Patrol and Foster County Sheriff's Department conducted an investigation that led to the additional charge, which Foster County State's Attorney Kara Brinster said was filed on Friday.
The affidavit revealed new and chilling details about Ellingson’s final moments and what Brandt allegedly did after.
Brandt at first claimed that Ellingson wasn’t going to let him go. “He wasn’t going to let me go, I hit him. I didn’t mean to and and he’s subdued,” Brandt said, according to the affidavit. “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 said, according to the affidavit.