MINNEAPOLIS - The fate of Amy Senser, accused of killing a Twin Cities chef in a hit-and-run-accident, is now in the hands of a jury.
The jury deliberated for about six hours Tuesday afternoon before recessing for the night. The jury will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Closing arguments took just over two hours before judge Daniel Mabley issued jury instructions and handed the case off for deliberations just after 12:30 p.m.
Prosecutor Deborah Russell said in her closing argument Tuesday that evidence shows Amy Senser must have known she hit a man last August near a freeway exit ramp in Minneapolis. Anousone Phanthavong died in the crash.
Russell reminded jurors of testimony about Senser's daughter asking her if she had been drinking that night. She also mentioned that Senser deleted several text messages from her phone the day after the crash, and painted the family as one that did not want to face up to an unpleasant situation.
"This is a family where you don't ask questions and that way you don't know anything," Russell told the jury. "Members of the jury, this is not Amy world. This is the real world. Find her guilty of all counts."
Defense attorney Eric Nelson, understandably, had a different view of the case for jurors to consider. "This is not a question of whether or not she knew she hit something nor is a question of should she know," Nelson maintained in his closing argument.
"The question is did she know she hit a person? The state of Minnesota presented nothing more than speculation or conjecture."
Nelson also called the charges filed by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman a rush to judgement based on the Senser's high profile in the community. "The actions of the state of Minnesota speak louder than words," Nelson argued. "Miss Senser is a public figure, her husband is a public figure and we need to make an example out of them."
The jury will be sequestered while deliberations continue, meaning they will not go home until a verdict is reached.
The final defense witness Tuesday was crash reconstructionist and retired State Patrol investigator Daniel Lofgren, who testified that hit-and-run victim Anousone Phanthavong was likely crouching to fill up his car with gas as he was struck.
He also maintains that it would have been difficult for Senser to see the hazard lights on Phanthavong's car due to the curving nature of the off ramp, and the fact that construction in the zone had caused street lights to be disconnected.
The reconstructionist followed the highly anticipated testimony of Amy Senser herself Monday. Senser tried to convince jurors that she had no idea she hit a person, and actually thought she had struck a construction barrel on the off ramp.
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