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18-year-old charged with murder after intentionally running Polk woman over with church van: Deputies

Posted at 1:03 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 22:33:14-05

An 18-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder after Polk Sheriff's Office says he intentionally ran over a woman with a van.

18-year-old Elijah Stansell is charged in the death of 52-year-old Suzette Penton of Polk City last month.

Deputies say he had been in the Polk County Jail since November 9 for attempted felony murder, 3 counts contributing to the delinquency of a minor, burglary with assault, and lewd & lascivious battery on a minor. He was being held on no bond for the attempted felony murder charge, which is now being upgraded to first-degree murder.

RELATED: 4 teens arrested for attempted murder after purposely running over Polk City mom, sheriff says

Sheriff Judd said the incident started when Stansell's girlfriend asked him to beat up an ex-boyfriend of hers (Penton's son).

However, Suzette Penton came home earlier than anticipated and started to follow after the four suspects and take photos. That's when surveillance video shows her being run over.

The van, which deputies say was from a baptist church where Stansell's father was a pastor, had 3 other teens inside including Stansell's girlfriend - they have all been charged as adults, with attempted felony murder and burglary with assault.

Sheriff Judd said video shows Stansell clearly running over Penton squarely. He says it was no accident.

Penton died of her injuries last week.

"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 Judd said. "I can't even fathom teenagers doing something so heinous. Our prayers are with this family."