Prosecutors say suspects worked on plan to cover up 16-year-old Preston Lord’s death

Mar 7, 2024, 11:40 AM | Updated: Mar 12, 2024, 10:13 am

PHOENIX — Prosecutors with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said Thursday that the suspects accused of murdering Preston Lord worked to cover up the 16-year-old’s death.

The development came during the initial court appearance for 19-year-old Taylor Sherman, one of six suspects who has been indicted in the October 2023 death of Lord.

Prosecutors said Sherman and others fled from the scene after the fatal beating. Sherman “was also involved in the destruction or the attempted destruction of evidence, collusion … colluded with others about a potential story,” prosecutors said.

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday that her office is looking into the possibility of a cover up.

“I think it’s fair to say that nothing’s off the table. No one is off the table in this investigation and if we find evidence that is sufficient to bring those charges, we will bring those charges,” Mitchell said.

Rumors of a cover up have swirled for more than a week after an Arizona Republic report alleged that the father of one of the suspects, Travis Renner, and his business partner started concocting a plan to protect the boy, 17-year-old Talan Renner, in the hours after the fatal assault on Lord.

Mitchell said the punishment would be severe for anyone involved in covering up what happened that night.

“I can’t really talk about this case yet, but generally speaking people who are involved in hindering prosecution or tampering with evidence are facing felony charges,” Mitchell said.

What happened to 16-year-old Preston Lord?

Lord was beaten outside a Halloween party in Queen Creek on Oct. 28 and died at a hospital two days later.

His death brought ongoing youth violence in the East Valley into the spotlight, resulting in dozens of arrests in separate cases across Queen Creek, Gilbert and Mesa.

The indictments of four suspects announced on Wednesday — William Owen Hines, Dominic Turner, Talan Renner and Talyn Vigil — was the first charging action since the Queen Creek Police Department submitted charges to MCAO against seven suspects in the Lord case on Dec. 28. Indictments for two more suspects, Sherman and Jacob Meisner, were announced Thursday.

Nick Lord and Autumn Curiel, Lord’s parents, expressed gratitude to law enforcement and the community following the indictment announcements.

“Each arrest represents a step towards accountability and justice for our son Preston,” they said in a statement.

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Prosecutors say suspects worked on plan to cover up 16-year-old Preston Lord’s death