Appeals Court upholds Amy Senser conviction; she "knew she hit either a person or a vehicle"

Appeals Court upholds Amy Senser conviction; she "knew she hit either a person or a vehicle"

More than a year after a jury found Amy Senser guilty of two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied Senser's petition to overturn her conviction.

In her appeal, Senser argued that the trial court made several legal and discretionary errors that affected the verdict, and additionally, that the state failed to prove that she knew she hit a person when she ran over Anousone Phanthavong.

The appeals court, however, unanimously disagreed.

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"Only one reasonable conclusion can be drawn," Judge Margaret Chutich wrote in the majority opinion for the three-judge panel, released on Monday morning. "Senser knew she hit either a person or a vehicle on the Riverside ramp that night."

Though the district court erred in admitting hearsay evidence and in failing to disclose a note from the jury, "the errors had no effect on the jury's verdict," the appeals court found. "Senser received a fair trial."

In August 2011, Senser, the wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser, ran over Phanthavong with her Mercedes SUV on an I-94 exit ramp, and then drove away. Over a week later, she came forward as the driver, but denied knowing that she hit someone. At trial, she testified that she thought she had struck a pothole or a traffic cone.

Since July 2012, she has been serving her three-and-a-half-year prison sentence at a facility in Shakopee.

Read the full opinion here.

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