Timothy Bakdash guilty of murdering Benjamin Van Handel

Timothy Bakdash was found guilty of second-degree murder by a Hennepin County jury yesterday afternoon.

Hennepin County prosecutors charged Bakdash with first and second-degree murders over a spring 2011 incident where Bakdash, who had been drinking at The Library Bar in Dinkytown, deliberately ran over a group of students he had gotten into an argument with.

Benjamin Van Handel, a University of Minnesota student, died after Bakdash ran him over. Sarah Bagley and Katelyn Hanson were seriously injured during the attack but survived.

Bakdash was found not guilty of murder in the first-degree, which requires premeditation, but the jury found him guilty of murder in the second-degree as well as felony murder and criminal vehicular homicide.

He was also found guilty of attempted murder in the second-degree of Bagley and Hanson, as well as assault in the second-degree and criminal vehicular operation.

Bakdash testified at trial that he only meant to "scare" Van Handel, who he believed had slapped him earlier in the night. His lawyers argued that Bakdash was too drunk to be responsible for murder. The jury did not agree.

This isn't the first time Bakdash has been in trouble with the law. He has prior convictions for marijuana possession, careless driving, and drunken driving.

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