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Jury Now Deliberating Fatal ‘U’ Hit-And-Run

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s now up to a jury to decide the fate of the man accused of a deadly hit-and-run at the University of Minnesota.

Timothy Bakdash says he was too drunk, so he couldn’t have intentionally killed a man and injured two women in Dinkytown last April. The jury began deliberating at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Bakdash is accused of driving his car onto a crowded sidewalk, killing Ben Van Handel.

Prosecutors say Bakdash was trying to mow down two men he argued with in a bar, but killed Van Handel and injured the two women instead.

The jury is deliberating after having the case for about two and a half hours.

The defense says Bakdash had between 15 to 20 drinks that night and didn’t know what he was doing.

A lot is at stake — premeditated first-degree murder means life in prison and criminal vehicular homicide means 10 years behind bars.

In their closing arguments, both sides agreed that Bakdash was drinking the night he drove up on the Dinkytown sidewalk killing Van Handel, seriously injuring two young women and sideswiping another young man who suffered minor injuries.

Prosecutors say it was a premeditated attack, but the defense says Bakdash had been smoking pot in addition to several drinks that night.

Prosecutors fired back arguing that a witness and the bartender said Bakdash “was not that drunk.” Prosecutors said that two witnesses also testified that Bakdash told them the victims “deserved it.”

Another witness testified Bakdash told him “he intended to kill the victims.” The defense says Bakdash never said those things and that he told a fellow inmate he was just trying to scare the victims.

The defense also hammered on what they call a poor police investigation. Even prosecutors agree the investigation was flawed but that doesn’t change what they say is proof that Bakdash was using his car as a weapon to kill.

At 7 p.m., the jury retired for the evening and will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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