Commonwealth v. Sarah Elizabeth Flanders; Vehicular Murder Draws 22 Years in Prison; Defendant has Prior Hit and Run Conviction

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced today that Sarah Elizabeth Flanders, 42 years old, formerly of the 300 block of Rutherglen Muse in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge James C. Lewis for Second Degree Felony Murder and Hit and Run-Personal Injury or Death. Judge Lewis sentenced Flanders to 35 years in prison with 13 years suspended leaving 22 years to serve. 

Judge Lewis found Flanders guilty of the charges after a trial on February 9, 2016. The Commonwealth's evidence proved that on September 18, 2014, officers from the Virginia Beach Police Department responded to a dispute call involving Sarah Elizabeth Flanders and the victim, Richard Pentz.  Officers found Flanders and Pentz arguing on the side of the road.  Both declined assistance from the officer and left separately; Flanders in a red Dodge Durango and Pence on a bicycle.

Two days later on September 20, 2014 at approximately 5:20 a.m., Flanders struck Pentz with the red Dodge Durango in the parking lot of Plaza Middle School.  After striking Pentz, Flanders left the scene in the Durango.  On the way out of the parking lot, she notified two Virginia Dominion Power employees who were working nearby that there was a man bleeding to death in the school parking lot and that it looked like he had been hit by a car.   The Dominion Power employees called rescue and were able to provide to the police a description of Flanders and the vehicle she was operating. Pentz was taken to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, dying of blunt force trauma to the torso. The Durango was located at the home of a friend of Flanders.  Flanders was additionally linked to the vehicle through DNA analysis of the steering wheel and the gear shift.  DNA analysis also determined that the victim's blood was located on the driver's side front bumper of the vehicle. 

Flanders has prior convictions for Hit and Run with Injury, Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle, Possession of Controlled Paraphernalia, Statutory Burglary, and Petit Larceny.  ​

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorneys Thomas M. Murphy and Tabitha B. Anderson prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.