ARIZONA NEWS

7 suspects arrested, charged with murder in Preston Lord investigation

Mar 8, 2024, 5:00 AM | Updated: Apr 12, 2024, 3:41 pm

PHOENIX — Seven suspects have been indicted on murder charges in the death of Preston Lord, a major breakthrough four months after the high-profile death of the 16-year-old in Queen Creek.

William Owen Hines, Dominic Turner, Taylor Sherman, Talan Renner, Talyn Vigil and Jacob Meisner face charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping in Lord’s death. Renner, Vigil and Meisner are minors being charged as adults. Meisner also faces aggravated robbery charges, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday.

Treston Billey was arrested charged with aggravated robbery, first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping Thursday, a day after the other suspects were brought in.

“We must always remember that at the center of this case is a teenaged boy who died far before his time,” Mitchell said during a press conference Wednesday. “His parents are in agony and there is little anyone can do to change that. That said, today we have taken a massive step forward in the quest for justice for Preston.”

Investigation was ‘extremely fast,’ Queen Creek police chief says

Queen Creek Police Chief Randy Brice said homicide investigations typically take a long time. However, this case was “extremely fast,” he said.

Lord, 16, died in late October after a gang of youths attacked him during a Halloween party in Queen Creek.

His death triggered a wave of community outrage over the rise of youth violence in the East Valley.

Parents in the area told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the violence was connected to a gang of youths called the Gilbert Goons.

The gang allegedly attacked teens in Gilbert, Queen Creek, Mesa and other areas in random, blitz-style assaults. Some of the attackers allegedly wore brass knuckles.

QCPD submitted a police report for Lord’s case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on Dec. 28.

Mitchell told reporters the case file was about 1,800 pages. She said it would take her office a long time to comb through about 2,000 pieces of evidence.

Although seven suspects have been officially named, the investigation is far from over.

“We are still working actively to make arrests,” Brice said. “We’re gonna be relentless about this. We’re not gonna stop until we have everybody in custody.”

Gilbert Police Department provides more details in Wednesday night press conference

Gilbert Police Department Chief Michael Soelberg provided further details with an update on Wednesday evening.

Soelberg said Hines has three pending aggravated assault cases, one where Gilbert PD arrested him for a DUI-related aggravated assault, and two additional aggravated assault cases that were not reported to the Gilbert Police Department until December of 2023 and January of 2024.

Soelberg confirmed all three cases involving Hines are pending with the Maricopa County Superior Court.

Soelberg also said Turner has one documented case with the Gilbert Police department, a traffic collision with a road hazard in 2023. According to Soelberg, there are no other documented incidents with Turner.

Because of legal constraints, Soelberg could not identify suspects who were juveniles at the time.

One of the juveniles had one arrest that was related to riding a dirt bike on a yard. Soelberg confirmed there were eight other interactions with the juvenile since 2017.

The second suspect had three juvenile arrests. Two of the arrests were for having tobacco at a school and the other was for shoplifting. There were seven other interactions with the juvenile since 2021.

The third juvenile was arrested twice. Once for a fight over a girl and once for driving recklessly in a dirt lot, Soelberg said. Soelberg confirmed there were eight other interactions since 2017.

Soelberg also said the gang investigation is still ongoing and active and that his department is still working on 12 active cases.

He said that they have been communicating with the QCPD and other law enforcement agencies.

“Today’s indictment represent one more step in bringing justice to the Lord family, we again ask that if anyone has any information about any of these investigations to come forward to the Gilbert Police Department,” Soelberg said.

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7 suspects arrested, charged with murder in Preston Lord investigation