Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Monday, the wife of a former Vikings player will learn how she’ll be punished for a deadly hit-and-run.
Two months ago, a jury convicted Amy Senser of hitting and killing Anousone Phanthavong, who had run out of gas along Interstate-94, in Minneapolis last summer.
Since her trial, Senser’s legal team and friends have been readying their arguments for keeping her out of prison. And on Friday, the prosecution fired back.
In asking for the maximum sentence of five years and nine months, the prosecution cited Senser’s “lack of genuine remorse, and her continued attempts to minimize the criminality of her conduct.”
Earlier this week, the defense asked that Senser be given probation and no prison time.
“Ms. Senser is heartbroken by the pain caused to Mr. Phantavong’s family and friends as she struggles everyday with the fact she is responsible,” Senser’s attorney wrote.
The court filing shows examples of what the defense calls Senser’s public humiliation, including a liquor store display and a picture of a Twins fan with a sign saying the Twins should learn from Senser how to “hit-and-run.”
The defense has also submitted 113 letters — some of them prominent individuals — asking that Senser not do prison time.
Former Vikings coach Dennis Green and his wife wrote: “We know Amy is truly sorry.”
Former Congressman Jim Ramstad said that while he feels for the victim’s family, he “does not believe that community interests would be served by Amy Senser’s incarceration.”
And Senser’s stepdaughter Brittani Senser, who was one of the most damaging prosecution witnesses, wrote, “I fear a lengthy incarceration will negatively impact my sisters’ future.”
Joe Tamburino, a prominent local defense attorney, said while letters like these can help, Senser will likely get a substantial sentence.
“I would suspect the judge would give her right in the middle, which is 48 months,” he said. “That’s what the guidelines call for. That’s what the guidelines says is the mid range. That’s what most people would receive in this type of a situation.”
Judge Dan Mabley can sentence Senser to less than the guidelines, or to more.
In his last high-profile case, Mabley sentenced Timothy Bakdash, who was convicted of a hit-and-run, which killed a University of Minnesota student, to more than what prosecutors were asking for.
If she is sentenced to prison, Senser will be sent to the Shakopee Women’s Prison. And if she is sentenced to the maximum five years and nine months with good behavior, she could be out in just under three years.