Homicide: Polk City, Florida Librarian, Defending Child; Run Over By Son of Pastor, Driver of Church Van

Elijah Stansell, murder suspect in Polk City, Florida (SOURCE: Polk County Sheriff's Office)
Elijah Stansell, murder suspect in Polk City, Florida (SOURCE: Polk County Sheriff's Office).

All four teenagers inside the van that ran over the beloved Polk City librarian in November will be charged as adults in her death, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday.

Elijah Stansell, age 18, the driver of a church van where his father is a pastor, is accused of intentionally running over a Polk City librarian, Suzette Penton. His charge was initially attempted murder, but the charge was upgraded to murder after Suzette Penton died from her injuries last week — three weeks after she was run over by Stansel on November 9, 2020 near her family’s home near Freedom Park at Citrus Grove Boulevard and Berkely Road in Polk City.




Penton was attempting to photograph the van and the driver after she arrived home and discovered four offenders beating up her teen son.

Stansell is the only teen charged with murder, but all four teenagers inside the van that ran over Polk City librarian Suzette Penton will be charged as adults in her death, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd at a press conference Tuesday, December 1, 2020. The other teens are juveniles — Kimberly Stone, 16; Hannah Eubank, 14; and Raven Sutton, 16 are facing adult charges of attempted felony murder and burglary with assault.

Raven Sutton, 16; Hannah Eubank, 14; Kimberly Stone, 16 -- Teens involved in homicide in Polk City
Raven Sutton, 16; Hannah Eubank, 14; and Kimberly Stone, 16 (Kimberly Stone turned 16 in jail) — Juvenile teens involved in homicide in Polk City to be tried as adults.

According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, Suzette Penton’s son Hunter, had been in an ongoing post-relationship dispute with former girlfriend Kimberly Stone following a breakup six months ago. The dispute, aggravated by social media interactions, got so bad, that Kimberly Stone was suspended from their high school, according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

On the day Kimberly Stone was suspended, Judd said she gathered two friends, Eubank and Sutton, and her new boyfriend, Elijah Stansell, to go to Hunter’s home to beat him up. Stansell didn’t even no where the home was located.

Judd said that’s when Suzette Penton confronted the teens, she also tried to take pictures of their getaway church van, and was ran over by Stansell, the driver, when the driver had room to drive around or back up to avoid Penton. Sheriff Judd said Stansell should go to prison. The van was backed into a small driveway to Freedom Park across the street from the victim’s home.

“It’s one more example for us to tell our children; when you misbehave, things can get out of hand.”

— Sheriff Grady Judd, Polk County

Sheriff Judd said. “She has tire tracks on her body where he runs totally over her.” The Polk County sheriff said that there is much investigative ahead with gathering of evidence, including cell phone evidence and videos. Parts of the incident were captured on security video. Also, suspect Hannah Eubank captured images on her personal cell phone.

A worker with county utilities followed the van, which Stansell initially drove southbound on Berkley Road and contacted

Elijah Stansell, murder suspect in Polk City, Florida (SOURCE: Polk County Sheriff's Office)
Elijah Stansell, murder suspect in Polk City, Florida (SOURCE: Polk County Sheriff’s Office).




The church van that Sheriff Judd said Elijah Stansell used to arrive at and flee from the crime scene belongs to the Westwood Missionary Baptist Church, where Stansell’s father is a pastor. Westwood Missionary Baptist Church is located in Winter Haven, Florida — located about 12 miles south of Polk City. Paul Stansell is also the National Director of the ABA Disaster Relief Ministry with national headquarters in Winter Haven, Florida.

Polk City is a small city of about 1500 people located just north of Interstate 4, which connects Orlando to Tampa and St. Petersburg. The population in Polk County is about 602,000.

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