Brittani Senser calls sentence sad but fair

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 11, 2012 - 6:58 AM

Amy Senser's stepdaughter, who testified for the prosecution, discussed the case on "Good Morning America."

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Brittani Senser, right, walked through security at the Hennepin County Government Center on May 3, 2012.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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On the day after Amy Senser was sentenced to 41 months in prison, Brittani Senser appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" and said that although she felt for her stepmother, the time behind bars was warranted.

"I was sad. Obviously, it's been a heartbreaking thing for both families, especially for the Phanthavongs, and for us," she told host Robin Roberts on Tuesday morning. "But I think that she's [in prison] because of the crime that she committed."

Brittani Senser, 28, an aspiring pop star who lives in south Minneapolis, was a key prosecution witness in her stepmother's criminal vehicular homicide trial for the hit-and-run death last August of Anousone Phanthavong, 38. Amy Senser maintained that she didn't stop or seek help because she thought she had struck a construction cone or barrel, not a person.

Brittani Senser sat in the back row, apart from other family members at Monday's sentencing, but sobbed and called out as her stepmother apologized and hugged Phanthavong's mother, Keo Phanthavong.

Brittani Senser testified that she became angry in the days after the crash because of media speculation that she may have been the driver. Amy Senser's attorney turned the vehicle over to authorities the day after the accident but didn't immediately say who the driver was. Amy Senser, 45, came forward as the driver after Brittani Senser threatened to go to the media herself.

"I don't feel like I forced her, I don't at all," Brittani Senser said. "I was under the impression that my family was in complete compliance with the authorities, so when the news broke and there wasn't a driver that was identified and speculation was that it could have been any of us, I told them [that] since I knew that Amy was the driver, she needed to come forward and take responsibility for what she had done."

She said the case has strained her relationship with her family, including her father, former Viking Joe Senser, and her two teenage sisters.

Brittani Senser was one of more than 125 friends and relatives who wrote to Judge Daniel Mabley encouraging him to give Amy Senser probation. She wrote that, although she disapproved of her father and stepmother's actions following the crash, she urged him to spare Senser prison time for the sake of her younger sisters.

Abby Simons • 612-673-4921

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