Court hears opening arguments in Bakdash trial

The defense argued that Timothy Bakdash didn’t mean to kill anyone.

Timothy Bakdash

Timothy Bakdash

Branden Largent

Opening statements for Timothy Bakdash’s trial over last year’s hit-and-run that killed one University of Minnesota student and injured two began Monday morning.

Early on April 15, 2011, Bakdash allegedly drove up on the curb and struck four pedestrians, injuring three, as he drove the wrong way down the one-way Fifth Street Southeast.

Defense attorney Joe Tamburino said Bakdash was drunk and high at the time and only wanted to scare the man he thought he fought with outside a Dinkytown bar last April.

“He never knew these people, didn’t see them and never intended to hurt them,” Tamburino said of his client.

He also said Bakdash didn’t know he hit Benjamin Van Handel until a coworker told him the next day that Van Handel was seriously injured in the incident.

Tamburino is trying to prove Bakdash was not guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder because, he says, Bakdash didn’t mean to kill anybody.

But the Hennepin County prosecutors, led by Christina Warren, said Bakdash intended to kill.

“He didn’t swerve, he didn’t stop, he didn’t brake,” Warren said.

“The evidence in this case clearly shows that what the defendant did was murder.”

For the jury to convict Bakdash of first-degree murder, the prosecution has to prove Bakdash intended and planned, or “premeditated,” to murder the students.