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Opening Statements Finished In Amy Senser Trial

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The jury was seated and opening statements are in the books in the trial of Amy Senser, who is accused of criminal vehicular homicide.

The jury is comprised of eight men and six women. The trial is done for day, but we did learn that Senser will take the stand in her own defense.

Nelson began his opening statement by talking about the tragedy of Phanthavong’s death. He said, “His death without a doubt was tragic, but it’s not the primary issue you will have to decide.”

Nelson said that Amy Senser will take the stand to give her side of the story and the events leading up to the deadly accident. “You will hear her say what she saw, heard, and felt at that riverside exit.” said Nelson as he addressed the jury.

Senser, 45, is charged after a deadly hit-and-run accident last August that killed 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong of Roseville.

Phanthavong had run out of gas on an Interstate 94 exit ramp in Minneapolis, and was filling his car with gas when he was struck and killed.

Potential jurors were asked on Monday morning how much exposure they’d had to the case in the media, and if they had already formed any opinions prior to the trial.

Senser arrived at court Monday with her attorney by her side. Each one of the three counts of criminal vehicular homicide carries with it a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Senser has never spoken with investigators about the incident.

Senser’s attorney argues that his client didn’t realize she had struck a person last August. Prosecutors argue they can prove that she did. Last week, they claimed that one of Senser’s daughters said she had been drinking that evening.

One of the potential jurors told the judge that she thought it would be hard to not know whether you had hit something or someone with your car.

Another potential juror said that he was aware of information that will not be allowed during the trial — specifically, the questions of whether or not Senser had previous issues with alcohol and whether or not Phanthavong had cocaine in his system the night of the incident.

The judge has informed potential jurors that the concern isn’t so much what they already know, but whether they have already formed an opinion.

Senser is the wife of former Vikings player Joe Senser, who owns a number of sports bars in the Twin Cities area.

Joe Senser is among the people who may be called to the stand during the trial, as may be the Sensers’ daughters. It is not yet clear whether Amy Senser will take the stand herself.

The trial resumes Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock.

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