Star Tribune – 2011-04-26
Bail reduced for mom in fatal hit-and-run
Diane Bakdash’s attorney made all the familiar arguments in pushing to have her bail lowered: She has a supportive family, she’s been a law-abiding citizen for years, she has a stellar work record. Then Ryan Garry told the judge something perhaps even more convincing.
“Even if you believe everything in the complaint, there is no evidence that she knew a crime had been committed,” he said.
It appeared to have worked. Hennepin County District Judge Dan Mabley on Wednesday reduced bail from $1 million to $100,000 for Bakdash, charged with helping her son Timothy try to sell the car he allegedly used to run down three people, one fatally.
“In no way did she attempt to cover up that her son committed murder,” Garry said outside the courtroom where Bakdash made her first appearance.
Authorities charged Diane Bakdash, 66, of Roseville, on Tuesday with being an accomplice after the fact, a felony. Timothy Bakdash, 29, has been charged with second-degree intentional murder and assault.
Diane Bakdash was arrested as she attempted to visit her son in jail. A criminal complaint filed Tuesday accuses her of helping him sell his damaged car to someone who planned to immediately repair its smashed windshield and dented body.
But Garry said Diane Bakdash didn’t know at that point that her son was under suspicion of committing a crime. Authorities have accused Timothy Bakdash of intentionally running down some students near the University of Minnesota on April 15. Benjamin Van Handel, 23, died a week later.
Diane Bakdash is a respected nurse who graduated from UCLA and St. Catherine’s University, the attorney said. She has worked as a nurse for Hennepin County, specializing in severe acute respiratory syndrome cases. She has served as a witness for the county attorney’s office.
She’s also struggled for years to intervene in her son’s chemical dependency, Garry said. “She’s basically devoted her life to helping others with chemical health issues, which is ironic in this case,” he said.
According to state records, Timothy Bakdash pleaded guilty to third-degree drunken driving, a gross misdemeanor, in Ramsey County in February 2009. He was sentenced to a year in jail, with all but 30 days stayed, and two years’ probation. His probation ended six weeks before the hit-and-run of which he’s accused.
James Walsh, Star Tribune • 612-673-7428