Lawyer for man accused of killing ND teen in McHenry hit-and-run says there may not be enough evidence to support a murder charge

A preliminary hearing for Shannon Brandt is set for Dec. 6.
Shannon Brandt (left), Cayler Ellingson (right)
Shannon Brandt (left), Cayler Ellingson (right)(KFYR)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 3:16 PM CST
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CARRINGTON, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Lawyers are getting ready to make their arguments in a murder case that drew national attention.

The lawyer for 41-year-old Shannon Brandt, the man accused of hitting and killing a teen with his SUV following a street dance in central North Dakota, is outlining his plans for Tuesday’s preliminary hearing in Foster County District Court.

Mark Friese, with Vogel Law Firm in Fargo, says he is filing a request to revisit Brandt’s bail and argues there may not be enough evidence for intentional homicide.

If the judge finds there is not probable cause, Brandt would be released. However, according to Friese, officials could later recharge Brandt or decide to charge him with something else.

Brandt is accused of killing 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson on Sept 18 in McHenry, North Dakota. Court documents say Brandt called 911 and said he hit Ellingson because he was being threatened.

Documents say Brandt told authorities the 18-year-old was part of a republican extremist group and that he was afraid they were coming to get him. Brandt also admitted to drinking before the incident.

The state filed criminal charges against Brandt, including murder and duty in accident involving death or injury.