A Florida woman has died weeks after a group of teenagers intentionally ran over her as she defended her son, who had been assaulted by the teens, deputies said. Suzette Penton, a librarian in Polk City, died last week from injuries suffered in the Nov. 9 crash, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
An arrest affidavit said the crash left Penton with a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones.
Investigators said she was run over by a van carrying 18-year-old Elijah Stansell and three other teens, ages 14, 15 and 16. They were initially charged with attempted murder and Sheriff Grady Judd said Stansell now faces murder charges.
"At this time, only Elijah is charged with the actual murder because he is the one who was driving the vehicle and he is the one that ran over and feloniously murdered a lady that was doing nothing but trying to gather photographs of suspects who attacked her child at their home," Judd said at a Tuesday news conference.
According to investigators, the teens went to the woman's home because of a "romantic entanglement" between the teens and Penton's son. Judd said that Penton's son used to date Stansell's current girlfriend, who he said instigated the feud.
Judd said that the teens attacked the woman's son. Penton then went outside to confront them, and to take pictures of their van to show to police.
"They purposely and intentionally ran her over and critically injured her," said Polk County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Horstman. "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."
A lawyer for Stansell wasn't listed on court records.
"It should have never happened," Judd said. "It's one more example for us to tell our children when you misbehave, it can get out of hand."
First published on December 2, 2020 / 7:46 AM