MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When back on the witness stand Thursday, Joe Senser, a former Vikings star, said that he believed his wife when she said she hit a traffic cone the night 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong was struck and killed.
Senser’s wife, 45-year-old Amy Senser, is charged in connection with the hit-and-run that killed Phanthavong last August. She faces three counts of criminal vehicular homicide.READ MORE: Media Attorney Calls For Release Of Chauvin Juror Names
The second day of testimony did not start out well for Joe Senser, who was admonished by the judge to not talk to members of the jury after it had come to light from prosecutor Deborah Russell that he had spoken to at least two jury members after court had adjourned Wednesday.
He was heard by two of the prosecutor’s assistants saying, “She expects me to tell the truth? Doesn’t she?”
Russell was livid, telling the judge that in all her years as a prosecutor, she’d never seen such blatant, inappropriate contact between a witness and the jury.
On the stand Russell was relentless, beating Senser down with his own timeline, which had numerous discrepancies when confronted with the official record.
“Mr. Senser, you testified that you went to bed before the 10 p.m. news, so how do you account for two text messages you sent to your wife at 22:11 p.m. and 22:26 p.m.?” Russell questioned.
Senser paused and then quipped, “I said I went to bed, not to sleep.” However, Joe Senser said he could not recall the text messages.
Attacking Senser’s account of the events on Aug. 23, Russell seemed incredulous as did some members of the jury, who could be seen slowly shaking their heads after hearing that Joe Senser did not question his wife after she failed to pick up their daughters from a rock concert, failed to communicate with him and claimed to have gotten lost in Minneapolis.
Joe Senser said that wasn’t unusual, either. That she typically does what she wants and at times, doesn’t do things she’s supposed to do and flies by the seat of her pants. He called it “Amy’s world” and simply said, “Amy is fiercely independent.”READ MORE: Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha, Sen. Melisa Franzen Injured In Crash
He said he tried calling her several times on the night of the accident but she didn’t answer his calls. When he finally got her on the phone, he said it was too windy and the signal kept breaking up so he didn’t get much from the conversation, other than Amy was lost.
On Wednesday, Joe Senser testified that he questioned his wife about the hit-and-run, after reading about it on the WCCO website.
Amy Senser told him she thought she hit a construction cone, according to his statements.
She continued to say, there was “no way this was me.”
Looking at the damage, he thought she hit a deer and then saw news reports about the fatal crash. Joe said he questioned his wife, asking if she was involved in the crash and if she was sure she hit a construction cone.
He said she was adamant about it and said it couldn’t have been her and said there was no way she was lying. Still, Joe Senser said he called his brother-in-law, who is a police officer, and an attorney the next day.
Joe Senser testified that in their 22-year marriage, Amy has never lied to him. The prosecution brought questioned him about any extra marital affairs that Amy might have had and Joe responded that he never asked her about them.
A family friend, Sandra Delgehausen, also testified on Thursday saying she spoke with Amy the day after the accident. Delgehausen said she received calls from one of Amy’s daughters on the night of the crash, around 12:30 a.m., and when she called back, the daughter asked her if she was with her mother that night. Delgehausen said no and was then told to stay away from Amy Senser.
Delgehausen told the jury when she finally talked to Amy, all she said was there was an accident but she’d have to learn more about it in the media.MORE NEWS: Solar Panels Start Duluth House Fire
Court resumes in the afternoon.