ARIZONA NEWS

County Attorney Rachel Mitchell offers insight on Gilbert Goons street gang designation

May 3, 2024, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:51 pm

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said that Thursday’s street gang designation of the Gilbert Goons addressed some of the concerns of the community.

Mitchell joined KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Friday to discuss the recent developments and details surrounding the hybrid gang.

The county attorney emphasized that if one is a part of a gang and furthering it, then gang designation doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law.

“What matters is if you fit the definition of the (criminal street gang) statute,” Mitchell said.

Authorities confirmed Thursday that the new designation will not add to the charges of suspects who have been arrested. However, Mitchell noted that sentence length can be affected if convicted.

“There is an enhancement,” Mitchell said. “If you commit a felony with intent to further a street gang, that adds — depending on the level of felony — either three or five years to your sentence.”

What does intent to further a street gang look like?

Mitchell said that if the purpose of the gang is to intimidate, control, gain stature or notoriety, it could be argued to be promoting a street gang. She said that there does not have to be a financial purpose, but it’s a common motive.

“We’ve seen in the more traditional situations people trying to get a hold on a neighborhood or a part of the community so that they get protection money for example,” Mitchell said.

She pointed out the fact that a specific action like that isn’t a direct felony, but the intent to assist a street gang is.

“It’s something that we’re going to look for in every single case as to whether it’s appropriate to either charge or allege as an enhancement,” Mitchell said.

How Gilbert Goons gang designation affects Preston Lord case

Mitchell said that a full presentation was made regarding the Preston Lord case, but the charges that were already issued were standard, not gang charges. However, any new information discovered in the homicide case can result in gang charges.

The country attorney reminded people that the current charges in the Lord case carry much greater consequences.

“We have seven individuals charged with first-degree murder,” Mitchell said. “The focus has to be on the first-degree murder charges and those obviously carry very stringent penalties. So that’s our focus right now.”

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County Attorney Rachel Mitchell offers insight on Gilbert Goons street gang designation