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Early release from prison pending for Amy Senser


On April 24, Amy Senser will walk out of the Shakopee prison where she has been incarcerated for approximately the past year and eight months.

The Pioneer Press reports Senser, 47, was sentenced to 41 months in the hit-and-run death of Thai chef Anousone Phanthavong, 38, of Roseville. The wife of former Vikings tight end Joe Senser hit Phanthavong in August of 2011, as he was putting gas in his stalled car along Interstate 94 shortly after 11 p.m. There were no witnesses, but his body – and pieces of her vehicle – were found on the ramp.

The Pioneer Press reports she had originally been scheduled to be let out on supervised release Oct. 20 of this year, but applied for and was approved for work release, which shaved six months off her sentence, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.

The story adds that Minnesota inmates typically must serve two-thirds of their sentence before they are considered for supervised release – the term for what was previously called "parole" or "probation." Inmates in the program live in a work-release facility; part of their earnings subsidizes some of their housing costs.

In May 2012, a Hennepin County jury found Senser guilty on two counts of criminal vehicular homicide; one alleged she left the scene of a crash and the other accused her of failing to notify police as soon as possible. They acquitted her of a count of criminal vehicular homicide that alleged gross negligence, as well as a count of careless driving.

At sentencing in July 2012, Senser – who had Phanthavong's name tattooed on her wrist – apologized to her victim's parents.

"I don't know what pain I have caused. I can only imagine you must miss him," she told Keo Phanthavong and her husband, Phouxay Phanthavong. "I'm so very sorry."

Earlier this week the Star Tribune reported that a new law to require drivers involved in collisions to stop and investigate what they struck was introduced at the Minnesota Legislature. The story said the measure was designed to close a loophole often used by motorists involved in hit-and-run cases.

The story cited the high-profile Senser case as part of the motivation for the bill's introduction. Throughout her trial, Senser maintained that she left the accident scene believing she had struck a construction cone or barrel.

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