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Former assistant United States A lawyer says Shannon Brandt’s bail is “very low” and “horribly inadequate” for her alleged SUV slaying of 18-year-old Kayler Ellingson.
Brandt, 41, used an SUV to hit Ellingson in 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,” adding that he had a “political argument.” ” with Ellingson, court documents show. According to the documents, Brandt also claimed Ellingson urged others to come “get him.”
Ellingson was seriously injured and taken to a local hospital, but later died.
Brandt was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident after the incident. He was released from jail on Sept. 20 after posting $50,000 bond and was not placed under house arrest or placed on a curfew.
North Dakota State Highway Patrol Capt. Brian Niewind told Fox News Digital there is “no evidence” to suggest Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group” or that the incident was politically motivated.
Under the terms of the bail order, Brandt cannot leave North Dakota, cannot consume alcohol and must participate in a 24-hour sobriety program with ongoing testing.
Brandt also can’t possess a “firearm, destructive device or other dangerous weapon” and can’t come within 300 feet of the Ellingson family.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Neama Rahman told Fox News Digital that the bond granted to Brandt was “horribly inadequate.”
“Yes, it is a small amount, no doubt. Anytime you’re dealing with a manslaughter case, it’s not much at all,” Rahman said. “For these reasons, I believe that $50,000 is grossly insufficient for a bond in this case.”
Rahman said that because Brandt is accused of fleeing the scene of the Sept. 18 incident, he should be considered a fugitive threat.
He also said prosecutors should have charged Brandt with first-degree murder.
“He acted deliberately,” Rahman said. “If you intentionally kill someone with a vehicle, that’s murder.”
When asked if he had ever seen such a case, Rahman said “absolutely not”.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “To issue a bond so low is truly an unprecedented judicial decision. So, hopefully, the prosecutor’s office will step up and do the right thing.”
Ellingson’s funeral will be held Monday afternoon in Carrington, North Dakota.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Brant’s attorney, Mark Freese, said he wants to give the family time to grieve before making a statement.
“It would be inappropriate for me to comment until the family and community have had time to grieve. It is also premature for me to do so without first carefully examining the evidence and the history of the case,” Freese said.