Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s already been an emotional day in the courtroom, with the first witnesses taking the stand in the trial of Amy Senser.
She’s the wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser and is charged with criminal vehicular homicide.
She is accused of hitting and killing Anousone Phanthavong, as he was filling up his tank with gas in Minneapolis last August, and then drove off.
Senser claims she didn’t know she hit anyone, so that’s why she didn’t stop.
The witnesses that discovered the crash and were first on the scene recalled what they experienced that night on the stand Tuesday morning. It was the first time since this process began that Senser showed some emotion and reaction in the case.
The jury listened to the audio from the 911 calls made that night and were shown photos of Phanthavong’s body, lying in the roadway.
Members of the victim’s family became visibly upset after the photos were shown. Senser also became emotional, crying during the testimony.
The witnesses say on the night of the accident, the roadway was very dark but they could see a vehicle pulled over to the side of the road with its flashers on and up ahead, there was a man’s body.
The jury heard details from these witnesses on what they saw that night and what the scene looked like.
Members of Senser’s immediate family have not been seen at court but because they are potential witnesses to the case, the jury is expecting Joe and possibly the couple’s daughter to take the stand.
After the jury of eight men and six women, including alternates, were selected Monday, both sides made their opening statements. Senser didn’t comment at the opening of the trial, but it appears she will take the stand in her own defense.
Hamline law professor Joseph Daly believes Senser has to take the stand and explain what happened but that’ll be risky.
“Even when we are innocent our voice starts cracking and hands shaking, we start to sweat. And that’s the danger because the jury may be looking at this person, judging her credibility and say, ‘I think she’s lying,’” he said.
Legal experts said it’s highly unusual that both jury selection and opening statements happen all in the same day, especially for a case like this. Because of that, it’s hard to predict how long this trial will go.