‘We want justice for this tragedy:’ Family of slain Florence City employee releases statement on her death

South Carolina News

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) — The family of a slain Florence City employee is calling for justice for her death.

“This situation is never something you expect to happen to someone you love,” Ethan Poston, Penny Phillips’s son, said in a written statement to News13 on behalf of Phillips’s family. “It is unreal and still feels like a nightmare. Nothing feels the same without her.”

Phillips died Monday night after being stabbed earlier in the day in what police are calling a random assault. 

Phillips, 49, of Johnsonville, was stabbed in the area of 801 Clement Street and Northwest Park Community Center in Florence. Jawan Kavorie Crittenden, 18, was arrested later that night and has been charged with murder and possession of a deadly weapon during a violent crime.

Phillips was a single mother who liked to craft holiday decorations and spend time with her family. She was a full-time caretaker for her parents.

“Penny was a good person,” the statement reads. “She was not only a great mother but a wonderful friend as well. She was kind, and caring, and cherished by all her family and her community.”

The statement said that Phillips “was taken too soon and for no reason.”

“We want justice for this tragedy,” the statement reads. “We want justice for Penny. We love you, and we miss you.”

Florence officials released their own statement on Wednesday, with Florence Mayor Teresa Myers stating that Phillips had an infectious smile.

“She expressed a desire to impact our community and had many aspirations to make change happen,” Ervin said. “In her spirit, we will strive to continue her mission, but for a moment we will pause to heal as a family and a community.”

Florence City Manager Randy Osterman said city employees are taking necessary steps required for healing following the tragic loss.

“The loss of Ms. Phillips is incomprehensible,” Osterman said. “Our employees are the most valuable part of our organization. To lose an employee is to lose a member of our family. Our organization grieves with the entire Phillips family. Those who have worked closely with Ms. Phillips are still coping with this tragic loss. This senseless act has left our staff with a tremendous amount of guilt and helplessness. Our employee base and community will be forever impacted by her loss and the events of that tragic day.”

Phillips’s funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday at the Mill Branch Free Will Baptist Church in Johnsonville, according to the Morris Funeral Home in Hemingway. Her burial will be private.

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