Benjamin Van Handel
MINNEAPOLIS -- A Roseville man was charged with murder in the fatal hit and run accident that killed a University of Minnesota student near Dinkytown.
Twenty-nine-year-old Timothy Bakdash was charged with second degree murder Monday in a hit and run incident that claimed the life of a U of M student and injured two others.
According to the criminal complaint, Bakdash told a witness he intended to run over a group of three pedestrians in the early morning hours of April 15.
Bakdash remained jailed in lieu of $1 million bond, and Monday evening Roseville Police and other law enforcement officers were parked outside the Bakdash home in Roseville and eventually arrested the mother of Bakdash.
According to Minneapolis Police Sgt. Stephen McCarty, the woman was visiting Bakdash at the Hennepin County jail when police took her in to custody as an accessory to a crime.
Prosecutors maintain Bakdash had been drinking at the Library Bar in the Dinkytown area near the U of M Campus that morning when he got into an argument with a group of two men and two women.
"Rather than resolve the matter through conversation or fists he decided to use his car as a dangerous weapon," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told reporters.
Among those he argued with was 23-year-old Benjamin Van Handel of Appleton, Wisconsin, according to Minneapolis Police Capt. Amelia Huffman.
"It appears to have been more or less your typical bar related altercation, nothing serious," Capt. Huffman remarked.
"There's nothing that would lead us to believe it was an ongoing or long-term dispute, where folks who previously knew other had met up. It appears to be an altercation of bruised feelings that occured that night."
Huffman said Bakdash mistook the two female students, Katelynn Hanson and Sarah "Sally" Bagley, for the women who had been with Van Handel in the Library Bar. They had been at the Kitty Kat Bar a block away, and just happened to be walking down the sidewalk at the same time.
Hanson and Bagley are expected to fully recover from their injuries, but Handel died April 21 at Hennepin County Medical Center after being removed from life support. His organs were donated to three different persons in need of life saving transplants.
"Bakdash had made the statement to witnesses who came forward that he intended to kill people and he didn't feel bad about it," Capt. Huffman said to reporters.
One witness told police the altercation continued outside the Library Bar, until that man left the scene on foot. Another witness said Bakdash jumped in his car, a Mitsubishi Gallant, in pursuit.
"This was case where he left the altercation with the intention to catch up with the other party, the man who became the victim, and he sought him out," Huffman explained.
Bakdash allegedly told the witness he hit a fourth person that he didn't intend to, but that he had, quote, "no remorse" for attempting to run over the other three.
Selling the Car
A witness identified solely as "B.B." in the charging documents, said he purchased the Mitsubishi from Bakdash for $1,500 later in the day on April 15th. B.B. told investigators that while on the phone with Bakdash he heard Bakdash's mother, Diane, telling him he had to get rid of the car that night.
According to the criminal complaint Diane Bakdash signed over the title to B.B., who then took the car to his garage stall. That was apparently when B.B. realized the windshield was smashed and there were numerous dents in the car.
When asked whether Diane Bakdash could face criminal charges, based on B.B.'s account and her signature on the title, Freeman said the matter was still under investigations.
Reporters attempting to question the family's neighbor's in Roseville Monday evening were turned away by police, who were parked at the Bakdash home.
Freeman told reporters he will submit the case to a grand jury, and that may result in the charges being upgraded to 1st degree murder. Timothy Bakdash is also charged with two felony counts of second degree assault, in connection with hitting the two women.
As of Monday authorities had not released a booking photo of Bakdash. They planned to use it in photo line-ups shown to potential witnesses, and don't want those witnesses' memories tainted at all by images of Bakdash in the media.
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