(NEW YORK) — Amy Senser, the wife of former Minnesota Vikings player Joe Senser, claimed to be deeply remorseful after receiving her 41-month prison sentence for killing Anousone Phanthavong in a hit-and-run accident last year.
“I’m sorry…I hope you can believe me. I never saw your son that night, and if I had, I would have stopped to help him,” Senser, 45, told Phanthavong’s family at her sentencing Monday.
Senser hugged Phanthavong’s mother and told her that she tattooed her late son’s name on her wrist.
“We felt a relief to [hear her] actually speak for herself and just hear her apology,” said the victim’s niece, Cindy Phanthavong.
“All that they’ve wanted in this criminal proceeding was for justice to be served and they’re thankful that that was accomplished,” said James Ballentine, attorney for the Phanthavong family.
Senser testified in May that she knew she had hit something on the night of August 23, but said she believed it was a pothole or construction cone. She said she didn’t see 38-year-old Phanthavong.
When asked to describe what the feeling of the impact was like, Senser said, “I’ve never been in an accident so I wasn’t quite sure if I’d hit a pothole or one of those construction signs.”
Phanthavong, a restaurant cook, was fatally struck by Senser’s sport utility vehicle as he refueled his stalled car on an Interstate 94 ramp in Minneapolis.
The highly charged case was taxing on the Senser family as it pitted stepdaughter against stepmother.
Senser’s stepdaughter, 28-year-old Brittani Senser, said she coaxed her stepmother to admit her role in the accident more than a week after the crash. Brittani Senser, an aspiring pop singer, testified that she was angry after media reports linked her to the accident.
Brittani Senser discussed her role in the situation on ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday.
“I don’t feel like I forced her,” she said. “I was under the impression that my family was in complete compliance with authorities. When the news broke and there wasn’t a driver identified [there was] speculation that it could have been any of us. I told them, because I knew … that she had to take responsibilities for what she’d done.”
Brittani Senser also said that she is unsure how truthful her stepmother has been throughout the trial.
“I [do] believe that she is remorseful,” she told Robin Roberts on GMA. “But I kind of believe the judge. It’s hard to believe that you didn’t know you hit something. I don’t know if she knew she’d hit a person. It’s hard to believe from the evidence that she didn’t know she hit something.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
AJ Willingham, CNN
Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Melissa Gray, CNN
Barbie Latza Nadeau, Tim Hume and Vasco Cotovio, CNN