Amy Senser Hit-and-Run Conviction Upheld

Updated: 10/20/2014 7:18 AM
Created: 06/24/2013 10:28 AM
By: Maricella Miranda

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the conviction of the wife of a former Minnesota Viking in a fatal hit-and-run accident, denying her bid to overturn the verdict on multiple grounds.
The three-judge panel ruled there was sufficient evidence to convict Amy Senser, the wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser. Her attorney planned to issue a statement later Monday on the next steps in the case, which could involve further appeal.
Senser is less than a year into a 41-month prison sentence in the death of Anousone Phanthavong. He was struck on a Minneapolis freeway exit ramp as he was refilling the gas tank of a stalled vehicle. Senser maintains she didn't know she had struck a person but thought it was a construction cone instead.
"The jury was not required to agree on whether Senser knew she hit a person or a vehicle, because hitting either would have imposed a duty upon her to stop," Judge Margaret Chutich wrote in the 32-page appeals opinion.
The appeals court said a district judge was wrong to admit hearsay evidence in the case. It was from an officer recounting a phone conversation that Joe Senser had with a friend about finding blood on the couple's Mercedes SUV.
The trial judge also erred by failing to promptly tell attorneys of a note from the jury after a verdict was reached, the ruling said. The note said jurors believed that Senser could have hit something other than a person and wanted that read in court in conjunction with the verdict.
But Monday's ruling said neither had a critical effect on the verdict and that Senser had a fair trial.

The court of appeals opinion can be found here.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Amy Senser
Photo: KSTP File Photo

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