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Florida librarian dies after 4 teens intentionally run her over, sheriff's office says

The teens are now expected to face elevated charges.
Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office

LAKELAND, Fla. — A local mother and librarian has died after the Polk County Sheriff's Office said four teens intentionally ran her over.

Deputies say the group went to a Lakeland home earlier this month to "handle" an ongoing romantic dispute with another teen there. The teen who lived in the home came out a side door, and that's when deputies say 18-year-old Elijah Stansell attacked him.

He tried to run back inside his home, but Stansell and 16-year-old Raven Sutton followed him, according to arrest affidavits. The teen's mother, later identified as Suzette Penton, came home at that time, and affidavits show that's when Stansell and the others ran away. 

Penton followed them and watched them get into their van, which was parked across the street, the sheriff's office said. She was taking pictures of the teens and their van with her phone when deputies say Stansell, who was driving, intentionally ran her over before driving off.

When deputies got to the home just before 3 p.m. on Nov. 9, they found Penton in critical condition. 

She has since died, the sheriff's office confirmed Monday. 

Deputies say they quickly located the teens in the van. In addition to Stansell and Sutton, they say they found 15-year-old Kimberly Stone and 14-year-old Hannah Eubank inside.

According to authorities, several people told the sheriff's office they saw it all unfold, and home security cameras show the attack outside and inside the home, as well as the teens getting back into their van and running over Penton.

Stansell was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with attempted murder, burglary with assault and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was also charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a 15-year-old, a crime the sheriff's office said it found after his arrest Monday.

Sutton, Eubank and Stone were all taken to the JAC and charged with attempted murder and burglary with assault. 

Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office

"This was a coordinated, planned attack, carried out by a group of teens who beat up a teen then ran over his mother, leaving her for dead," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "I can't even fathom teenagers doing something so heinous. Our prayers are with this family."

Elevated charges are expected against the teens in light of the woman's death.

A celebration of life for Penton is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Donald Bronson Community Center in Polk City. Organizers said there is no formal dress code, but they're asking everyone to wear a face covering.

Anyone interested in contributing to funeral arrangements can call the Kersey Funeral Home in Auburndale at 863-220-7991.

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