Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Amy Senser is spending her first of many nights in prison for the hit-and-run that killed a man.
She learned Monday she’ll spend three years and five months behind bars for killing Anousone Phanthavong last August.
At her sentencing: Senser’s lawyer told the court she now has a tattoo of Phanthavong’s name on her wrist to remind her of her responsibility to his family.
Amy Senser made her way into court Monday morning with just her lawyer at her side.
Her husband, former Viking Joe Senser, stayed home with their two teenage daughters.
The hearing began with emotional testimony from Anousone’s brother Kono Phanthavong.
“She doesn’t know what she has taken away from us. She faces time in jail, but he has been taken away from us forever,” said Kono in court.
When Phanthavong’s niece read a letter to the judge saying Senser never accepted responsibility, Amy Senser could be heard sobbing.
“I am sorry. I am sorry,” said Senser.
Her attorney, Eric Nelson, said Senser was ready for what was to come.
“She was prepared to be taken into custody. She was prepared for the sentence,” said Nelson.
But before she was taken into custody, Senser was allowed to talk to and even hug members of the Phanthavong family.
Through tears, she told his mother, father, and brother that she was sorry.
“The remorse was real. We do forgive her and this will end up being a good day for the justice system,” said Kono.
Phanthavong’s niece, Souksa Vanh, was glad to finally hear from Senser.
“It felt like a relief to hear her come out and speak for herself,” said Vanh.
Amy Senser is now one of more than 600 inmates at the Shakopee women’s prison. She will receive prison clothes and be assigned a job.
Unlike other facilities, prisoners at Shakopee are able to hug visitors and children can visit for an extended period of time.
However, warden Tracy Beltz says life at the facility is not easy.
“Offenders that come to prison lose their freedom. They aren’t able to do the things that we are able to do,” said Beltz.
The warden also said the living quarters aren’t like a jail cell, but they are small and the doors have locks.
Senser will spend 2/3 of her sentence behind bars. Her attorney said she will appeal.