Witness: Bakdash said he was ‘after the guy’ he fought with that night

A co-worker told the court Bakdash said he sped up when he thought he saw a man who mocked him at the bar.

Timothy Bakdash

Timothy Bakdash

Branden Largent

Timothy Bakdash told a coworker he hit someone just hours after the Dinkytown hit-and-run last spring, according to witness testimony in day three of the murder trial.

Kenneth Nelson, 36,  said Wednesday that Bakdash approached him at work about a guy who mocked him at a bar earlier the night of the crash. When Bakdash got into his car, he thought he saw the same guy and sped up toward him, Nelson testified regarding their conversation.

“He deserved it. Yeah, he deserved it,” Bakdash said, according to Nelson. Bakdash also told Nelson he didn’t mean “to hit the girl” but did say he was “after the guy.”

Jurors must decide whether Bakdash intended to kill or whether he just meant to scare one of the people he hit, who he allegedly mistook for someone he was arguing with earlier, as the defense argues. He faces a first-degree murder charge and two attempted murder charges for hitting four pedestrians. University of Minnesota student Ben Van Handel, 23, died.

Nelson said he urged Bakdash to turn himself in. Following the conversation, Nelson notified Patrick Green, 53 — owner of their place of employment, Professional Wireless — about the conversation, and kept conferring with him throughout the weekend following the incident.

Nelson did not tell Bakdash that Green knew all the details because Nelson had promised not to say anything to anybody.

“That’s why I think Tim took me into his confidence,” Nelson said.

But Nelson did tell Bakdash that Green knew something was going on in a later conversation. Bakdash changed his story a couple days after first mentioning the crash.

“That’s when he told me he was off his meds and made up the whole story,” Nelson said. He said it was the first time Bakdash mentioned taking any medication.

“I didn’t know what to believe,” Nelson said.

Nelson called the police tip line multiple times but did not hear back. Meanwhile, Bakdash continued to come into work throughout the week, Green said.

Green reached the police Thursday, April 21. That day, Bakdash came into work and left early, Green said. He was arrested later that day.

When it was his turn to question Nelson, Bakdash’s defense attorney Joe Tamburino pressed Nelson on whether Bakdash talked about intending to kill someone.

Tamburino asked Nelson whether “he never told you ‘I wanted to kill someone,’” and said “I wanted someone dead.”

Nelson said Bakdash did not use either “specific phrase.”

“Specifically ‘kill’ — no,” Nelson said when Tamburino reiterated the question. But Nelson later added that Bakdash did say “the guy deserved it.”

Jurors also saw a video of the scene a few hours after the incident. It showed labeled evidence, including two shoes on each side of the street, blood splatter and several credit cards in the middle of the street.

Minneapolis police Sgt. Bradley Simonson also testified on the investigation of the crash.

He said he wasn’t able to determine if Backdash was at fault due to a lack of physical evidence, as no skid marks were present. But he added that he “wouldn’t expect to see skid marks” if a driver was purposefully trying to hit something.

Thursday’s trial will continue with more questions for Simonson.

Bakdash Trial Day 1

Day 2