Senser juror explains verdict, note in op-ed - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Senser juror explains verdict, note in op-ed

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

A juror inthe Amy Senser hit-and-run trial wrote an op-ed to explain how and why they reached theverdict that could send Senser to prison for up to four years, giving an unusual glimpse into how the deliberations went among the sequestered jury.

Senser was convicted of two criminal vehicular homicide charges, both felonies, and a lesser charge of careless driving, a misdemeanor, in the crash that killed Anousone Phanthavong.

Earlier this week, a note from the jury surfaced among the administrative court documents that jurors had hoped would be read alongside the verdict. That note said the jury believed Senser thought she hit a car and not a person.

Now, juror Kathryn Richmond is explaining why that note was important to the jury, giving an unusual glimpse into how the jury deliberations went.

Richmond's editorial in the Star Tribune begins with how she reacted when a relative asked her if they "put the bad guy away." She responded by saying she didn't think Senser was a bad person, only that she made some very bad choices.

Senser's defense argued that she didn't know she had hit and killed a person when she exited Interstate 94 on to Riverside Avenue in August. According to her lawyer, if she didn't know, she couldn't have fled or failed to notify.

Still, the jury found her guilty because they thought she knew she "hit something more significant than a pothole or a construction barrel, and left the scene believing she hit a car."

Evidence photos show extensive damage to Senser's SUV.

Richmond also wrote, "She should have stopped right away, and she should have come forward as soon as she knew she'd been involved in a fatal accident."

Richmond explained that jurors hoped the note would be read because it clarified that although the trial had focused on her hitting a person, hitting a vehicle and fleeing would also merit a conviction under the law.

The jury did not believe that Senser knew she hit Phanthavong and left him there to die on an exit ramp.

FOX 9 News spoke with Joe Tamburino, a defense attorney familiar with the case, to see if the note could change the verdict or potentially spark a new trial since the note was not shared with the judge, the prosecution, or the defense. He said that's not likely.

"It's unique, but I think it also shows they are human beings and they really want to explain their verdict," he said.

FOX 9 News attempted to contact Senser's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, for comment, but did not hear back.

Senser faces up to four years imprisonment, and will be sentenced on July 9.

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