Queena Phu: Who Attacked Her? What happened after the attack?
This article contains information about graphic violence; Please read the trigger warning.
On the night of April 24, 2008, the attacker was identified as 16-year-old Kendrick Morris by Queena Phu, a survivor of the attack on the Bloomingdale library. He is said to have attacked Phu outside the Bloomingdale Regional Library late that night. The following evening, Queena, then 18, drove to the library to return the book she had borrowed. She was raped and severely abused.
When a search team arrived at the scene, they discovered her car door open, her phone on the floor, and blood. She was discovered unconscious, crippled and blinded behind the public library by her concerned family and friends. The tragedy rocked the once tranquil town of Brandon, Florida.
Morris was sentenced to 65 years in prison in 2011 after being found guilty of raping two women born ten months apart. The Queena Phu assault case is covered more than ten years later in Lifetime’s true crime series #TextMeWhenYouGetHome.
Kendrick Morris, the Queena Phu attacker, received a new life sentence
Kendrick Morris was tried a second time in 2017 because new rules overturned outdated rules on punishing children for serious crimes. The US and Florida Supreme Courts have banned rulings that do not give young people a realistic chance of freedom in many decisions.
In response, the state government amended the law to provide life sentences, on condition that judges must consider the age, maturity and intellectual ability of the accused. The new law also requires juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment to have their case reviewed after a predetermined period of time.
Morris made his opening statement and court appeal in the midst of it all. The judge occasionally displayed emotion as he ruled on a new verdict, pausing to explain the facts of Queena Phu’s sexual assault, the victim’s injuries and her ongoing physical disabilities. Morris still stayed behind his public defender for the duration of the 40-minute session.
The defense asked Judge Chet Tharpe to reduce Morris’ sentence in light of rulings that outlawed severe sentences for juveniles with no chance of release. Tharpe, who sentenced Kendrick Morris to 65 years in prison in 2011, instead granted him a life sentence.
As reported by Judge Tharpe:
“These were particularly heinous and horrific crimes. These crimes were not committed when they were young. This is the type of case that asks for a life sentence more than any other.”
Anna Donato, Queena Phu’s sister, commented on the sentence:
“It’s not a happy time for us at the moment. Queena will require constant care, so we always have to return home. I’d like to claim it’s a win, but that seems wrong. I feel terrible for him. But I think the verdict was fair. While we feel sorry for him and forgive him, we do not agree that he should be released from prison.”
She continued and became emotional as she described Phu’s current situation.
“We believe she is serving a life sentence and will never be eligible for re-sentencing and there are many things she cannot do, which he is.”
Currently serving a life sentence, Kendrick Morris was found guilty of raping two women, an 18-year-old Queena and a 62-year-old caregiver at a daycare center in Clair-Mel. His case is rumored to be reviewed in 2031.
This Monday, August 15 at 9:00 p.m. ET, #TextMeWhenYouGetHome on Lifetime will show Episode 10, which is about the narration of Queena Phu.