Amy Senser found guilty of two felonies, not guilty of gross negligence

Categories: Crime
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A jury found Senser guilty of two felony counts, not guilty of a third.
Over the weekend, legal experts opined that with the prosecution wrapping up its case, Amy Senser's trial was hers to lose, citing the difficulty of convicting someone of criminal vehicular homicide charges.

The experts were wrong. This afternoon, the jury found her guilty of two felonies -- failure to stop and failure to notify authorities -- along with a careless driving misdemeanor. She was found not guilty, however, of gross negligence.

Senser's sentencing is scheduled for July 9. The felony convictions call for a prison sentence of four years under state guidelines.

In arguing against the gross negligence charge, Senser's attorney, Eric Nelson, made a case that there isn't evidence Senser was either intoxicated or on the phone at the time of the crash. He also told jurors that she didn't drive out of her traffic lane when she ran over and killed Anousone Phanthavong last August. Jurors found Nelson's case persuasive in that respect but nonetheless concluded Senser had a legal obligation to stop and call authorities after she hit what she said she believed to be a traffic cone.

Judge Daniel Mabley could've had Senser taken into custody today but elected to let her remain free until sentencing.

Joe Senser hugged and kissed his wife after the verdict was read, and Amy Senser started crying after the courtroom cleared. Phanthavong's family declined to talk to reporters.

Previous coverage:

-- Joe Senser loses cool, tells photographers to "get a life"
-- Joe Senser on "Amyworld": Flaking out on picking up kids reflects her 'fierce independence'
-- Amy Senser opening statements: Senser will testify during trial

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31 comments
Buchief
Buchief

Like it or not, she should have walked.  Many are right when saying if she had stopped and been drinking at all, she's guilty by default.  Well, the same is arguable for Phanthavong.  The only reason he was there is that he spent all his money on cocaine and needed to borrow money for gas.

JonnyRockstar1234
JonnyRockstar1234

At last the criminal justice system seems to have worked!!!!

green23
green23

This woman is a walking disaster. She will screw up again. Hopefully nobody else will die when that happens. The same sort of people who defended her here will defend her again, which will only reinforce her belief that she is being persecuted.

Remember, this is just the *criminal* case. The civil case will cost the Sensers another huge chunk of change, even if they settle out of court.

Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr.
Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr.

Out of curiosity, and God Bless this man's soul, was he a good Chef?  I have never been to True Thai........

altiacanthus
altiacanthus

Congratulations to prosecutor Russell for her work and the jury for doing the right thing.  However, I fear Ms. Senser, released until sentencing, will now feel the urge to travel abroad for an indefinite period of time. . .

When this case was new and before many of the details were known, I suspected that Amy Senser probably had been drinking and driving.  What other reason would a reasonable, responsible adult have for fleeing the scene of a fatal accident?  Even if she thought she hit an inanimate object and not a person, would not a sober driver check her vehicle for damage?

I lost additional respect for Amy when I learned she has migraine disease and consumed alcohol (her ill-fated "half glass of wine") during a migraine attack on the night of the accident.  I have had migraines since before adolescence; doesn't every migraine patient know alcohol is a migraine trigger?  To drink alcohol during an actual migraine attack seems like masochism.

To those who think Amy Senser's detractors are hypercritical because she is relatively wealthy and (used to be) physically attractive, understand this:  while no one expects life to be fair, we DO expect justice to be impartial, and too often it is not:  well-known, well-heeled criminals often walk free while people (especially black men) like Troy Davis are executed for crimes they may not have committed.

Peace to the Phanthavong family, and to Amy Senser's children. . .like all of us, they cannot help who their mother is.

Joe
Joe

Moral of the story--professional sports keeps on paying. You can drive while drunk, flee the accident and probably  not spend a day in jail as long as you're a 'celeb' from Edina.

Stormesweet
Stormesweet

What the what?!?!? The jury didn't find the 911 callers reporting Senser's vehicle weaving down the freeway as credible evidence that she was drunk??? And Amy admitting that she had a "part of a glass of wine" right before the killing. The Dream Team called - they want their jury back...

Radicaldad
Radicaldad

Justice on the "white" side of the law???

swmnguy
swmnguy

Mark G. is right.  Our DUI laws are a total hash.  It was obvious from the outset what happened here, no question.  I wonder if maybe the Puritanical urge to criminalize substance use something to do with it.  It shouldn't be to a drivers' advantage to hide out and detox before turning herself in.  I don't think we treat drunk driving seriously enough, but what's more important here, whether or not she was drunk, or the fact that she killed a guy and took off?  I'd suggest that someone who kills a guy and takes off should be treated far more harshly than someone who is caught driving drunk, without having caused a wreck.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Time for the legislature to stop obsessing over the Vikings and start cleaning up the mess they've made of our DUI laws. This was an impossibly high bar for the prosecutors to overcome even though it was painfully obvious that the Senser stonewalling was first and foremost an effort to keep anyone from checking the contents of her blood.

But despite their successful stonewalling, the Sensers smeared the victim in every forum in town with the results of his blood test (which was not easy to analyze since over 90% of his blood was contaminated by the ground.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson actually wanted to introduce into evidence a study saying that people on certain drugs are more likely to die in an accident. I guess if the victim had been drug free, he might have lived half a minute instead of only a few seconds.

JustAGuy
JustAGuy

What a nice judge to let her go home until sentencing. I mean, sending her to jail would just be overkill, right???

John Doe
John Doe

Guilty.  GoOD.

I hope her sentence is a lot more severe than it would have been if she had stayed at the scene, instead of trying to hide her most-likely drunken crime.

John Frykman
John Frykman

Who did Phantavong kill?  There is no evidence whatever of what you allege the VICTIM did that contributed to anyone's death--his or anyone else.  Phanthavong isn't around to answer your allegations, and Amy and Joe obviously did everything possible to "create" reasonable doubt.  You don't run into a traffic cone, which weighs practically nothing and will do little to no damage to a vehicle if struck by one, and confuse it with a 100 pound plus human being, which you practically put into orbit.  She should not have walked, and she won't walk.  She will get 4 plus years, which is a gift given her lying and conniving, and Joe should be tried for perjury. "Amy's world" is a world of alcohol and/or drugs.  She was obviously impaired and that's why she didn't stop, and that's why she didn't come forward for over a week.

Hard Rock Miner
Hard Rock Miner

Bull crap Buchief!  She was drunk, taking a nap on the couch on their porch "waiting for the family to come home" , the daughter she "forgot" to pick up.  Please! She is guilty and I hope she spends at least 10 years in jail.

JonnyRockstar1234
JonnyRockstar1234

 Right, but the police didn't know who was driving the car  In my mind, once the 48 hours had passed and the car handed over, all was lost with regarding obtaining medical evidence.  The judge did say that their actions can be considered - and I am sure it was.  Wait 48 hours hand over car to lawyers, they hand it over to police.  Then 10 days later they state who was driving the car - if that is not preventing the course of justice I do not know what is.

JustAGuy
JustAGuy

I guess people on drugs deserve to die. Meanwhile people who drink and drive and kill people with their cars deserve 4 years of imprisonment, but should spend time at home with family before sentencing.  I've learned a lot from the Sensers.

Tileena
Tileena

She was drunk so to stay at the scene would have automatically been vehicular homicide. She felt the Sensor name or having Joe's contacts crushing the Mercedes down (never seen again) would have solved the problem. Joe say, "Hey babe, the Benz is worth $54,000 and we're still paying it off".  I bet their legal costs, Joe's lost media deals, the civil suit, will run them over $500,000. Was Amy worth it (rather then a divorce, years ago) 

JustAGuy
JustAGuy

Unfortunately, it won't be. Assuming she was drinking, she's gotten away with a lot here.

Pbonewolfman
Pbonewolfman

Four years may be less than she deserves, but  the level of public scorn, and disgust she has faced will stay with her forever along with her guilt (if she's capable of humanoid emotions like guilt and shame.)

Either way, she's been very publicly humiliated and exposed as a wretched mother living a bizarre, and manically self-centered life. Although it seems likely that she was drunk, there was reasonable doubt. You can't prove someone was drunk circumstancially .

JonnyRockstar1234
JonnyRockstar1234

 We all have learned a lot.  That the Sensers are another suburban nightmare family that have no idea of realty.  I really feel sorry for the children.

Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr.
Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr.

You can't buy off a jury, but you can still buy off the judge.  Why do you think he didn't place her in custody right after the verdict?

SarahinMpls
SarahinMpls

Media rarely addresses the obvious questions. In this case, what legal factors does a judge consider when determining custody and sentencing dates, why was July 9 chosen for sentencing, and how common is immediate custody in this type of felony?

Suzanne
Suzanne

Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr. said "Almost always, the person who is found guilty in this type of a case is sent straight to jail."

You forgot the first part of the sentence, "When I watch Law and Order on TV, almost always.."

In reality, a defendant who is not in custody during a trial is rarely taken into custody until sentencing.  The exceptions are extremely rare.

(I have been a court reporter in Hennepin County and other districts for 21 years.)

Tileena
Tileena

A Vikings fan?  The Judge? 

Dave Salmonson
Dave Salmonson

 Sad, but you are right. Almost always, the person who is found guilty in this type of a case is sent straight to jail.

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