Sarasota mother dies protecting daughter from stabbing

- A Sarasota mother was being called a hero by family members who said she died Friday after stepping in while her daughter was getting attacked.

Deputies said they found Teyanna Leverette, 20, and her mother Tonya Simpson, 54, at about 1:30 p.m. Friday, suffering from stab wounds in their home on 20th Street near Lime Lake Park.

Leverette survived and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Simpson, however, died at the scene.

Detectives told FOX 13 that 42-year-old Bernis Boykins, the ex-boyfriend of Leverette, was also found at the scene. He was later arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.

"He was up there fighting with the daughter and the mother stepped in, and he started stabbing her," Jennifer Williams, Simpson's cousin, told FOX 13 News.

Loved ones were stunned they lost a family member, but not surprised Simpson would give her life to save her daughter.

"She did everything she can for her daughter and her daughter did everything she can for her. And she just was a good mother," Williams said. "If it was my child I would do the same thing."

Neighbors said they'd often hear Leverette arguing with a man.

"I had an eerie feeling about him," said Brandi Bryant, who lived near the family for about 20 years. "There was always a fight over at the house. So they were trying to get him out and they just could get him out of the house quick enough."

"She just got involved with the wrong person at the wrong time," Williams said.

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