MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Lawyers made their opening statements Monday morning in the Timothy Bakdash case — the trial of a deadly hit and run that happened in Dinkytown.

Twenty-nine-year-old Bakdash faces first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder charges.

Police say he purposely ran over three University of Minnesota students last April.

Benjamin Van Handel, 23, was killed. Katelynn Hanson and Sarah Bagley were also struck. Bagley suffered severe leg injuries.

Before opening statements began, the prosecuting attorney was searching for more tissues to hand out to the family and friends of the victims.

For the man on trial, this isn’t about whether or not he hit the students, it’s if he meant to.

The prosecution says he targeted the group. The defense says is was an accident.

The incident all stemmed from an argument at the Library Bar. Police say at bar close, Bakdash got into a verbal argument with a group of guys after a night of drinking in Uptown. That’s when Bakdash allegedly drove the wrong way down 5th Street Southeast and plowed into the students.

The prosecution said he drove them down in retaliation. They say there was a witness in the car with Bakdash who heard him say, “they deserved it.”

The defense paints a very different picture of that night. They say Bakdash was intoxicated and it was all an accident.

Bakdash says he drank 15 to 20 alcoholic drinks and smoked marijuana before getting behind the wheel. That would put him at an estimated 0.3 blood alcohol concentration, more than three times the legal limit.

Bakdash says he drove on the sidewalk trying to scare the man he was in the fight with. That’s when he accidentally hit the man in the ankle and all of the sudden, there was a woman on top of his car.

He said he panicked, fled and hit what he thought was a pole. That ended up being Van Handel, who later died, and another woman.

Investigators say it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, as police say Bakdash never argued with Van Handel or the others in his group.

“Whenever there’s such heightened attention in the media about a serious case like this, we really have to wait and see and have patience,” said Bakdash’s attorney, Joseph Tamburino. “Obviously, it’s a very serious case and a very tragic case.”

Bakdash was arrested five days after the hit-and-run.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he’s going to ask the grand jury to indict Bakdash on first-degree murder charges.

“We think, if the evidence continues to lead in the direction it is, that it’s first-degree pre-med. That is life without parole,” he said.

Bakdash’s own attorneys are arguing he was more drunk than prosecutors say he was. The prosecutors say this is first-degree murder and that he intended to do it.

His defense says yes, he did it, but he was too drunk and high for this to be premeditated.

Bakdash’s mother was initially accused of helping him hide the car used in the attack. Prosecutors later dropped those charges.

Comments (32)
  1. big banjo says:

    this guy looks like a real piece of work….he’s the very definition of the word “coward” and i submit that his mother is no better, the fruit really doesn’t fall far from the tree as this case exemlifies……..when he gets out he might want to look into joining the hair club for men and see if they’ll make an exception and let him join.

    1. Banjo Betty says:

      Becareful judging people. You would be surprised what you would do for someone you love. His father is one of the finest people I have ever known and I am sure he is a great dad. All people make mistakes. Please don’t write anything if you can’t write anything positive. You are only hurting people.

      1. jackactionhero says:

        It was just a mistake? He drove onto a sidewalk and murdered someone he didn’t even know, and he did it intentionally. How dare you disrespect the people he tried to kill by saying it was just a mistake. Shame on you.

        I hope when he gets put in prison someone does what needs to be done, just like they did for Jeffrey Dahmer.

  2. Brent says:

    Why drop charges against mom? I’d only drop those charges if he plead guilty and avoided a trial.

  3. 0207 says:

    Wow it is just remarkable on how some people can make jokes at the worst possible time. When some poor person lost his life and the others seriously injured. All over some a** hole and liquor.. Those poor families injured… I hope that jerk get’s what’s coming to him I hope he rots in prison….

    1. jackactionhero says:

      There is no situation in which “get’s” is a word in the English language. I mean seriously, come on…

      1. jackactionhero says:

        That’s a grammatical error?

        Are you sure?

        1. jackactionhero says:

          Your attempts at insults won’t work with me, sorry. I know you think you’re the internet bully, but it has no effect on me. You aren’t even on the radar.

        2. Real Talk says:

          I’m the internet bully? What does that make you…..the internet grammer police?

          And honestly, for the life of me, i cant figure out what type of person points out asinine grammatical mistakes on here. The only thing i could figure is you want others to take notice of how smart you are that YOU caught the error and the writer didnt.

          Or do you have an invested interested in the grammatical righteousness of our society as a whole? Yeah, didnt think so. So that leaves us with me stroking your ego the way you intended when you make your BRILLIANT observations. You think anyone can get on here and point on grammatical mistakes? You are the Truth brother!! The Real Deal. I’m just proud i can say you actually were there to correct my mistakes. I feel privledged and grateful for the awesome opportunity.

          1. jackactionhero says:

            “The only thing i could figure is you want others to take notice of how smart you are that YOU caught the error and the writer didnt.”

            No, it’s really just a pet peeve of mine that Americans can’t speak or write English. How would anybody know I was smart and why would they care to begin with?

            Aren’t you folks embarrassed by your lack of writing and spelling abilities? I mean really.

            1. pumphandle says:

              Do you care to challenge you have zero errors in this reply? Here’s one of 3, English does not need to be capital as you’re speaking of the languauge english, not a certain group of people

            2. jackactionhero says:

              Yes, English does need to be capitalized, smarty pants.

        3. Kevin says:

          PS….it doesnt matter if you dont understand the insults. I’m glad they “dont work on you”. Thats the nice part about insults, they only need to be heard, i could care less what the insultee has to say about them. If i cared what you thought or if you were matter….i probably wouldnt have “insulted” you in the first place.

          Do you think about things, or just scribble down whatevers floating through your head at that second?

          1. jackactionhero says:

            Just whatever floats through my head.

            Also, I didn’t correct any grammatical errors, which is even funnier now that you have asserted I have.

            Oh you DO care what I think of it. There’s no escaping that fact. Next you’ll be humping my leg and sniffing my boxers.

          2. jackactionhero says:

            Whatever is floating through my head. Is that ok?

            By the way, how many names do you typically comment as, on a typical day? Just curious.

            P.S. I didn’t correct any grammatical errors. Minor detail there.

            1. Papa Joe says:

              to bed jack before mom gets home. Now

          3. jackactionhero says:

            Just whatever floats through my head.

            1. jackactionhero says:

              Maybe I should post it again, to make sure you see it, eh, kiddo and little buddy? LOL

          4. Stands with an insult says:

            Kevin, try posting with your native tounge.

            1. Kevin says:

              That is me….just some sackless liberal pretending…..There is only finger sniffing Kevin out there……me boy……let me just say…..hmmmmmmmm…..i left that one in there marinading for a while…..well worth it…..diversity sucks…..i’m so angry…….i’m gonna start calling names……just so frustrated with my life…..no….other….outlets…..this is my life……God i want to die.

      2. m says:

        Is this site about Tim, or Kevin?????
        Guys get a LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Banjo Betty says:

      Remember, the defendent has family who are hurting as well. Please don’t write hateful comments. Your comment brought me pain this morning and I just want you to know that.

      1. jackactionhero says:

        Who gives a monkey’s a55 about the defendant? He should be dragged behind a truck through a gravel pit until he stops twitching. I have a truck and rope for anybody interested in assisting in delivering the sentence.

  4. Idiots says:

    People making ridiculous remarks need to stop. This was my best friend that was murdered by this creep, you need to pay respect and not make absolutely ridiculous comments. If you have nothing good to say do not say anything at all. What if it were someone you loved killed by this monster. Please be respectful.

    1. Real Talk says:

      Then i probably wouldnt be looking at an annonymous chat board for support and condolences. Especially with all the nut-jobs that frequent this site.

      You made a wrong turn on the web my friend.

      1. Cindy says:

        You are 100% correct. This is for amusement only. Unless you think all the freaks living in public housing and in their parent basements have any real socil value. Also include all the no nothings living off the government.

        1. pumphandle says:

          So which one do you fall under?

  5. Cindy says:

    I hope he gets off with that defence, then I can go out and get real drunk and do what ever I want then say it was all an accident and get away with it…. so smart! Wow.

    1. Kevin says:

      Say….come on over and get real drunk…you can do what ever you want…and even some things you never really thought of……

  6. Murph says:

    From the photo.I would say Backdash should plead diminished mental capacity before, after and at present in re to the incident..It does not take an Einstien to see that the lad has diminished capacities far beyond social,societal and intellectual norms.EEEEK ,he’s a geek, !f that thing in the picture was on a booze overload what else could you expect!Don’t mess with Mother Natures rejects!

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