Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser was sentenced to more than three years in prison for a hit-and-run crash that killed a Thai restaurant chef last August.
A jury convicted Amy Senser in May of two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the death of 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong. She also was convicted of a misdemeanor.
On Monday, she was sentenced to 41 months in prison on the first felony count, in addition to a $6,000 fine. The judge said Senser wouldn’t be sentenced on the second charge because it’s identical to the first felony charge, so her sentences would be concurrent. She was charged with 90 days in the workhouse and a $300 fine for the misdemeanor charge.
“People leaving the scene of accidents is becoming an epidemic in Minnesota,” reasoned the judge on Monday. “In order to deter people, I think the prison sentence is justified.”
Senser must serve at least two-thirds of her sentence. She will be eligible for parole during the final third, the judge ruled.
In the courtroom, Senser apologized and hugged Phanthavong’s parents before taken into custody.
State guidelines called for a sentence of 41 to 57 months in prison on the felonies. Prosecutors last week asked that Senser be sentenced to nearly five years in prison, arguing that she has made excuses.
Also last week, Senser’s defense attorney asked for probation, citing Senser’s lack of a criminal record, support from family and friends and community involvement. The defense presented 113 letters asking the judge for leniency in the sentencing for Amy Senser. Former Vikings coach Denny Green and former Congressman Jim Ramstad were among those asking the judge to consider not just the crime, but the entirety of Senser’s life.
Senser, who is the wife of former Viking Joe Senser, struck Phanthavong last August on a highway exit ramp near the restaurant where he worked.
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