Defendants in 3 cases connected to Gilbert Goons plead guilty to assault charges

May 13, 2024, 12:41 PM

From left, mugshots of Jacob Pennington, Deleon Haynes and Garrett Bagshaw, who recently entered gu...

From left, Jacob Pennington, Deleon Haynes and Garrett Bagshaw recently entered guilty pleas in East Valley assault cases connected to the Gilbert Goons. (Pinal County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photos)

(Pinal County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photos)

PHOENIX – Defendants in three East Valley youth violence cases connected to the Gilbert Goons have reached recent plea deals, according to authorities.

“Let me be very clear: These are not … charges that are related to Preston Lord’s death. These are in other situations,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell told KTAR New 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Monday.

Lord is the 16-year-old high school student who died in a hospital two days after being beaten outside a Halloween party in Queen Creek in October 2023.

Seven suspects ranging in age from 17 to 20 have been arrested for alleged first-degree murder and other offenses for Lord’s death. Their trial isn’t expected to start until mid-2025.

What to know about plea deals in Gilbert Goons cases

The recent plea deals were for two assaults in Maricopa County and one in Pinal County. All three are reportedly connected to the Gilbert Goons, a group of violent youths known for posting video of their attacks to social media. The Goons officially have been designated as a criminal street gang, according to the Gilbert Police Department.

Deleon Haynes pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a class 6 felony, for his role in an Aug. 18, 2023, assault at an In-N-Out Burger parking lot on Market Street in Gilbert. An aggravated robbery charge was dismissed as part of the deal.

Haynes, one of six people arrested in the case, is expected to receive supervised probation at his sentencing hearing next month. A probation sentence can potentially include jail time, community service and other penalties.

“But if they get on probation and they violate that, they could be revoked and that could result in a prison sentence,” Mitchell said.

Jacob Pennington, meanwhile, recently pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for his role in a group attack at the same restaurant parking lot in Dec. 2, 2022. One of the other defendants in the same case, William Hines, is among the people charged in Lord’s death.

Pinal County case was attack on 16-year-old victim

Pennington has also been accused in several other East Valley assault cases. One of them is the Pinal County case involving the third recent guilty plea.

Pennington and Garrett Bagshaw were arrested in January of this year in connection with a Nov. 18, 2023, attack on a 16-year-old victim near Wagon Wheel Road and Sun Dance Drive in San Tan Valley.

Pennington said in a post-arrest interview he was associated with the Gilbert Goons, according to a probable cause statement for his arrest.

Bagshaw pleaded guilty to aggravated assault last week. He was ordered to complete a diversion program, according to the Arizona Republic.

Could there be more guilty pleas in Gilbert Goons cases?

Mitchell said she expects to see more guilty pleas in cases involving the Gilbert Goons.

“Obviously, it’s up to both parties whether a plea deal happens, but they are useful in situations like this … where you have maybe people who are not the main actors pleading guilty, and that way, if we’re going to trial, we’re going to trial on the bigger actors, the more serious actors. We’re not making a victim go through multiple trials on the same situation,” she said.

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Defendants in 3 cases connected to Gilbert Goons plead guilty to assault charges