Preston Lord murder: What we know about the case following the suspects' indictments

In a matter of days, seven people were indicted in connection with a violent incident in Queen Creek that led to the death of 16-year-old Preston Lord.

Since the indictments were made, authorities have also released new details on the deadly incident.

Here's what to know.

Who are the suspects?

preston lord murder suspects

Authorities identified the suspects as 18-year-old Treston John Billey, 18-year-old William Owen Hines, 17-year-old Jacob Ryan Meisner, 17-year-old Talan Renner, 19-year-old Taylor Reagan Sherman, 20-year-old Dominic Turner, and 17-year-old Talyn Ray Vigil.

When were they indicted?

On March 6, it was announced that a grand jury indicted Hines, Renner, Turner, and Vigil. 

A day later, on March 7, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced on a Phoenix-area radio program that Meisner and Sherman were also indicted. That same evening, officials with MCAO confirmed that Billey was in custody.

Court documents say Billey surrendered himself to authorities.

Why were they indicted?

A photo of Preston Lord that was seen during a vigil for the slain teen.

The seven people were indicted in connection with an incident that led to Preston's death.

At the time, Queen Creek Police said they received a call about an assault that happened in a residential area northeast of Sossaman Road and Chandler Heights. 

"Officers arrived on scene in approximately three minutes. QCPD discovered a juvenile victim in the roadway of that area and administered life-saving efforts. He was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. On Monday, Oct. 30, he passed away in the hospital," read a portion of the statement released by QCPD at the time.

The Preston Lord case was followed by the discovery of several other cases involving teen violence in various parts of the East Valley.

Read More: Teen violence: Here's a list of suspects authorities have arrested

William Owen Hines

William Owen Hines

Of the seven suspects in Preston's murder, one of them - Hines - has also been arrested in connection with other cases.

On Jan. 31, Gilbert Police announced that Hines, along with 20-year-old Jacob Pennington and a 17-year-old, were arrested in connection with a December 2022 assault incident.

On Feb. 1, officials with MCAO announced that Hines was indicted for alleged vehicular aggravated assault as a result of an incident in July 2023. On Feb. 7, MCAO announced that Hines, along with a 17-year-old named Tyler Allen Freeman, were indicted for allegedly assaulting a person at a party in November 2022. 

Have investigators learned anything new about the suspects?

In the days since the indictments were announced, officials have released new details surrounding the case.

On March 8, officials with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office gave an update on the investigation into Preston's murder, confirming that the theft of an inexpensive necklace from one of Preston's friends set in motion the fight that led to the deadly assault.

Officials with MCAO said when the gold chain was snatched, Preston and his friends tried to get it back, and a confrontation ensued.

On March 12, new court documents revealed that investigators were worried that one of the suspects could have fled the country.

Queen Creek Police were reportedly told that Renner was taken out of the East Valley after the attack that killed Preston. Investigators were also told Renner's family had the financial means to help him flee to Mexico.

What charges are the suspects indicted for?


(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

According to the indictment, all seven suspects are indicted for first-degree murder and kidnapping.

Billey, Meisner and Turner, meanwhile, are also indicted for aggravated robbery.

Criminal defense attorney Russ Richelsoph said the term "kidnapping," in terms of this case, refers to the victim being restrained during the crime.

"I'm interested in seeing what the evidence is," said Richelsoph. "I know that the police agencies involved spent a long time investigating these cases, and I know that there was a lot of public discontent with regards to the amount of time that this case did take to investigate before arrests were made."

It should be noted that Richelsoph is not associated with this case.

What's next?

Court documents for Billey state that a judge has set a $1 million bond for him and his arraignment is scheduled for March 14.

In a separate statement issued on March 7, prior to the news that Billey had surrendered himself to authorities, officials with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced that Hines, Meisner, Renner, Sherman, Turner, and Vigil are being held on $1 million bond. 

In our interview with Richelsoph, he said both the prosecution and defense have an immense amount of evidence to go through before the trials, and there’s still a lot to learn as probable cause statements by Queen Creek Police have been sealed by the court.

"Could the state seek the death penalty?" we asked Richelsoph.

"That's a tough question," Richelsoph replied. "You know. I've given that some thought. One thing that stands out for me in these cases is the ages of the defendants. So, if I think there's anything that keeps the state from filing a notice of intent to seek the death penalty, it will be their age."

First-degree murder cases are designated as complex cases in the Arizona court system, which Richelsoph said can take years.

"So usually, these kinds of cases have a tremendous amount of evidence, and it takes the attorneys on both sides a very long time to go through that evidence, and you know, review it, determine what it is, and then start arguing the legal portion of the case," said Richelsoph.