Updated: 06/25/2013 6:11 AM KSTP.com By: Maricella Miranda
Photo: Photo: KSTP File Photo
The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the conviction of the wife of a former Minnesota Viking in a fatal hit-and-run accident, denying her bid to overturn the verdict on multiple grounds.
The three-judge panel ruled there was sufficient evidence to convict Amy Senser, the wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser. Her attorney planned to issue a statement later Monday on the next steps in the case, which could involve further appeal.
Senser is less than a year into a 41-month prison sentence in the death of Anousone Phanthavong. He was struck on a Minneapolis freeway exit ramp as he was refilling the gas tank of a stalled vehicle. Senser maintains she didn't know she had struck a person but thought it was a construction cone instead.
"The jury was not required to agree on whether Senser knew she hit a person or a vehicle, because hitting either would have imposed a duty upon her to stop," Judge Margaret Chutich wrote in the 32-page appeals opinion.
The appeals court said a district judge was wrong to admit hearsay evidence in the case. It was from an officer recounting a phone conversation that Joe Senser had with a friend about finding blood on the couple's Mercedes SUV.
The trial judge also erred by failing to promptly tell attorneys of a note from the jury after a verdict was reached, the ruling said. The note said jurors believed that Senser could have hit something other than a person and wanted that read in court in conjunction with the verdict.
But Monday's ruling said neither had a critical effect on the verdict and that Senser had a fair trial.
The court of appeals opinion can be found here.
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