POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) — A Florida librarian died after a teenager who had beat up her son intentionally ran over her, sheriff’s deputies said.
Suzette Penton had arrived home on Nov. 9 to find that her teenage son had been attacked by group of youths, allegedly including his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, 18-year-old Elijah Stansell.
Penton confronted the four teens and began taking photos of their van to show the police.
“They purposely and intentionally ran her over and critically injured her,” Polk County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Horstman told TV station WFLA. “They had ample opportunity and space to get out of that area as she stood there in the street to take pictures of them to give to law enforcement. Instead, they ran her down in the road.”
Sheriff Grady Judd announced Tuesday that Penton died last week of her injuries. The attempted-murder charge against Stansell, the alleged driver, was upgraded to first-degree murder.
According to investigators, the teens went to the Penton home because of a “romantic entanglement.” Her son had reportedly gone through an acrimonious split from a 15-year-old girl who went on to date Stansell. The girl had been suspended from school because of her threats against the Penton boy, Judd said.
That girl reportedly remained in the van while Stansell beat up Penton’s son. Surveillance video from inside the house shows the attacker was accompanied by two other people — allegedly a 16-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl who took video of the assault.
The three fled the home when Penton returned from the store with her younger son. When she stood in front of the van and took pictures, Stansell allegedly drove over her.
Judd said the van was owned by Westwood Missionary Baptist Church, where Stansell’s father is a pastor.
The three other teens have also been charged in the attack. Judd did not say whether the charges against them will be revised.
Penton worked as a librarian for Polk City, which is between Tampa and Orlando.
Polk County also made national crime news in July, when three fishing buddies were killed, reportedly because of a remark overheard in a dollar store.
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