Goons Gone to the Slammer

“Gilbert Goons” Saga Continues
Sophie Wojtak

As of May 13, there have been a total of 29 arrests and 95 assaults in relation to the “Gilbert Goons.” Currently, the first 7 arrests have been made in the homicide case of Preston Lord and await individual trials set for 2025.

How were these arrests made?

Queen Creek Police had executed warrants for the arrest of these 7.  Police raided suburban neighborhoods in armored vehicles and helicopters calling over loud speakers for occupants to exit their houses.

All 7 suspects appeared before a judge where the judge ordered $1 million bonds for each of them.

Who was arrested?

4 of the 7 people arrested in the Preston Lord homicide case were announced by Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell and Queen Creek Police Chief Randy Brice in a press conference March 6.

These 4 people are juveniles, announced at the previously mentioned press conference were 17 year olds Talan Renner and Talyn Vigil, 20 year old Dominic Turner, and 18 year old William “Owen” Hines.

All were charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and kidnapping in the homicide case of Preston Lord.

Turner is also charged with aggravated robbery in the case.

After the Maricopa County Attorney and Queen Creek Police press conference, Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg held a separate press conference, giving information on the backgrounds of the 4 individuals arrested. 

These background checks brought to light that some of these individuals have been on police radar since 2017 with several prior interactions where these individuals were witnesses, incidents where the victim didn’t want to press charges, and past arrests.

48 hours later, the other 3 individuals were taken into custody by Queen Creek Police.

These 3 individuals are 19 year old Taylor Sherman, 17 year old Jacob Meisner, and 18 year old Treston Billey. All are also being charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and kidnapping in the Lord case.

Billey is the only individual who turned himself into police.

Along with Turner, Meisner and Billey received an additional charge of aggravated robbery.

All 7 plead not guilty to their respective charges.

In this case, all individuals are being charged as adults.

However, Renner and Meisner are being held in juvenile detention.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Vigil posted bond and was released from custody with an electronic monitoring system on April 12. 

Of the three juveniles, Vigil was the only one held in adult jail.

New evidence released to the public and trial details

Since the trials are fast approaching, new evidence and statements are being released to the public such as 9-1-1 calls, text messages, videos, and about 2,000 pieces of evidence in this over 1,100 police report case file.

The list of evidence includes a SnapChat by Renner reading, “I got in a fight, a big group fight and I accidentally killed a kid…I guess I just don’t know my own strength.”

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said, “The robbery has to do with one of the individuals that was with Preston Lord that night, and he had a chain with a medallion on it that was taken from him.”

None of the suspects knew Lord personally before the attack that night.

Prosecutors are arguing that Preston’s death was caused by a robbery for a $10 gold chain necklace.  

The prosecutors of this case say that Lord’s “attackers snatched the chain, and when Lord and his friends attempted to get it back, a confrontation erupted — then Lord and his friends ran away….his attackers gave chase, caught Lord, and in a matter of seconds beat him and left him lying on the side of a street…. Lord died two days later on Oct. 30 of traumatic brain injuries,”  The Arizona Republic reported.

Mitchell also left open the possibility of charging those who helped hide evidence in the Lord case with “tampering” charges, which could include any of the parents who tried to cover up their family’s involvement in the case.

After Lord’s death, the Renner family took Talan to their family cabin in Show Low after their family attorney advised that Talan should wait for his hands to heal from the fight before returning to Gilbert.

These actions are still being investigated by the Queen Creek Police and the parents could end up being charged.

The trials were originally scheduled for April 30 but have now been rescheduled for July 21, 2025.

The judge, prosecutors, and defense lawyers understand how complicated the case is with multiple defendants, and the large amount of evidence to assess, all points went into rescheduling the dates but is likely to be rescheduled again.

Judge Bruce Cohen, who is preceding over the case, also decided to allow news cameras during courtroom proceedings, citing that the trials are public hearings and camera usage could help get rid of false narratives in court.

However he stated that there will be limits on these cameras on how defendants are captured, specifically how their faces can’t be shown, but he is willing to reconsider the topic in the future.

The death penalty is the maximum sentence of individuals convicted in adult sentences for first-degree murder, however the Maricopa County Attorney’s office said that they won’t pursue the death penalty for anyone charged in the case.

All defendants maximum sentence could be life in prison, a decision based on defendants age and range of evidence.

“Gilbert Goons” officially classified as a Street Gang 

“Detectives have concluded that the group known as the Gilbert Goons has met the requirements to be documented as a street gang as set forth in Arizona revised statutes,” Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg announced May 2.

Soelberg explained that “goons” are now being referred to as a “hybrid gang” which is different from a traditional gang.

A hybrid gang is a street gang that takes a modern approach and incorporates the use of social media. 

Hybrid gangs tend to be loosely connected to groups that aren’t necessarily bound to one location with members being in multiple gangs or rival gangs.

Right now, police said they don’t have enough evidence to add additional gang charges to anyone involved in the group.

“Goons” cause trouble across the valley 

All police throughout Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek are tracking down and finding more “Goons” around the East Valley, providing new faith in the local police.

However, with new “Goons” being found, it’s creating teen violence scandals in the upcoming Gilbert mayoral election set for July 30.

Leading Gilbert mayoral candidate Shane Krauser’s son was found in a few of the ‘Gilbert Goons’ videos yelling and threatening violence with two teens who were charged and arrested for gang attacks in Gilbert and Pinal County.

“There was no physical confrontation,” Krauser told The Arizona Republic, “This is kids being disrespectful.”

With Krauser’s whole campaign being focused around teen violence and the “goons,” the new surfaced scandal has created lots of public outrage over the next election.

“I’m not going to play politics with teen violence,” Krauser told The Arizona Republic.

On April 24, Krauser withdrew his candidacy over the controversy.

Along with Krauser’s son, Riggs Elementary School Principal Jamie Lander’s stepson was also caught in a few of the “Goons” videos as well.

Chandler Unified School District sent an email to parents to state how the principal was initiated on leave February 12.

Then April 4, the district started accepting applications for a principal opening at Riggs Elementary.

Many parents of those accused and the suspects have been sued by victims of other attacks which have included Krauser and Lander.

Preston Lord’s life will continue to shine and good change coming out of this

Preston Lord’s parents, Nick Lord and Autumn Curiel, released a statement through DeFusco Law Firm after all 7 arrests were announced.

The statement read,  “We extend heartfelt gratitude to the community members who stepped up to provide information to secure these arrests. But for law enforcement’s collective efforts and community members’ invaluable cooperation, these arrests would not have happened. Each arrest represents a step towards accountability and justice for our son Preston.”

The Light the Night walk for Preston Lord on April 28 marked the 6 month anniversary of Lord’s death. 

During that walk, there was a sea of orange shirts, ribbons, hats, bracelets, and shoes who all gathered together in memory of Preston Lord. 

The Gilbert community continues to show up to all Gilbert Town Meetings, so much so that the Gilbert Town Council proposes time limits on public speakers due to the sudden rise of activists and community members speaking about teen violence and its effect on the city.

The Gilbert community still continues to search for Lord’s attackers plus anyone else who has been connected to the “Gilbert Goons” to make sure they are all held accountable for their actions.

Connor Jarnagan,another “gilbert goons” victim,  was attacked in December 2022 at an In-N-Out Burger parking lot with brass knuckles where he needed 2 staples in his head.

Since then, Jarnagan has been campaigning for the outlaw brass knuckle use in Chandler and said, “They add nothing to our communities in Arizona besides contributing to violent crimes and providing to serve teens and adults with a weapon that can kill someone.”

Senator John Kavanagh sponsored Senate Bill 1183 that would make the possession, manufacturing, transportation, sale, or transfer of brass knuckles a class one misdemeanor. 

Jarnagan testified for the passing of the bill telling legislators his experience with the deadly weapon. 

The bill was unanimously advanced from the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee and continues moving through the senate. 

Jarnagan said, “Talking to the senators and seeing what they had to say gave me hope that we can get it through the Legislature and push these bills to make Arizona safer.”

Jarnagan is continuing to work on getting signatures for an online petition to ban the weapon which already has over 1,300 signatures.

Chandler officials announced that they officially approved the ban of brass knuckles and will have a final vote on the policy May 23 and is expected to go into effect June 24.

Jarnagan’s campaign is one of many examples showing how the people across Arizona are gaining a very passionate voice as they continue to bring all of the “Gilbert Goon ” actions to justice as the battle continues.

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