City Pages – 2011-09-29
Diane Bakdash was a nurse practitioner with a squeaky clean reputation until the night her son Timothy allegedly mowed down several pedestrians in Dinkytown, killing one. According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, it was motherly fidelity that led Bakdash to assist her son in a hasty disposal of the car involved.
Today, however, it appears that the case has completely disintegrated. Bakdash was cleared of the final charge against her earlier today.
“Our position from day one, from the very outset of this case, was that she was 100 percent innocent,” says her attorney, Ryan Garry.
According to the charges against Timothy Bakdash, the 29 year old was drinking at The Library Bar on April 15 when he got into an argument with some other patrons. Bakdash left the bar, jumped into his Mitsubishi Galant, and — when he saw who he thought he’d been arguing with — revved his engine and drove up on the sidewalk in their direction, according to the complaint.
He allegedly hit two women who’d been at the Kitty Kat Klub, and Ben Van Handel, a U of M student. Van Handel was carried 50 feet on the hood of the car, struck his head on a utility pole, then flew through the air into the intersection. He died several days later from injuries to his head.
It took a few days for cops to track the younger Bakdash down, but once they did he’d already gotten rid of the Galant. Police were able to find the buyer, who says he bought the car for $1,500 and heard Timothy on the phone with his mother. The witness told police he’d heard Diane Bakdash say that Timothy “had to get rid of that car that night.” He also said Diane had told him she would sign the title. The 66 year old was charged with felony accomplice and arrested.
However, Diane Bakdash’s attorney wrote in a motion to dismiss that the witness contradicted himself in subsequent interviews with a private investigator. The investigator reported the witness changed his story to say he merely heard “someone” on the phone with Timothy. Garry also wrote that the witness altered his story to say he bought the car without any knowledge that there had been an accident, and only found out about it later.
The felony charges were subsequently dropped and a single charge of obstructing justice stood for Diane Bakdash. That went out the window this morning after her attorneys successfully argued that merely refusing to speak to police the first time they appeared on her doorstep and requesting a lawyer does not constitute obstruction.
“The government’s case was based on evidence that was just no good,” says Garry. “You need a top notch investigator if you want to do any good for your client.”
Timothy Bakdash is still being charged with felony second degree murder. His trial starts in November.
By Jessica Lussenhop