4 indicted in beating death of Arizona teen outside Halloween party

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Three teens and a 20-year-old person been indicted successful nan decease of an Arizona 16-year-old who was recovered severely beaten extracurricular of a Halloween statement past year, nan Maricopa County charismatic said.

The beating of Preston Lord, 16, who died 2 days aft he was recovered connected a roadworthy successful Queen Creek connected Oct. 28, prompted calls for much constabulary action against group violence by teenagers successful that and different adjacent cities.

“These 4 indictments are conscionable nan start,” Queen Creek Police Chief Randy Brice said astatine a news conference. He said nan constabulary section is still moving to make much arrests.

The defendants — 18-year-old William Owen Hines and 20-year-old Dominic Turner, arsenic good arsenic 2 17-year-olds — are each charged pinch first-degree murder, aliases successful nan alternative, second-degree murder, arsenic good kidnapping, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said. Turner is besides charged pinch robbery, she said.

All 4 indicted successful Preston’s decease are being charged arsenic adults, Mitchell said. NBC News is not naming nan 17-year-olds because they are minors.

Preston Lord.Preston Lord.Queen Creek Police Department

Mitchell called nan investigation “extremely complex,” and said it progressive thousands of pages of constabulary reports and astir 600 videos.

Preston was recovered successful a roadway astatine astir 9:49 p.m. connected Oct. 28, constabulary said, aft officers had antecedently been dispatched to nan area for a reported juvenile disturbance. He was taken to a infirmary and died 2 days later.

At nan clip of that earlier call, astatine astir 9:07 p.m., officers saw a ample number of juveniles leaving but observed nary forbidden activity, and they went to different call, constabulary person said.

Last month, nan aesculapian examiner delivered a last study that ruled nan mode of Preston's decease a homicide. A origin of decease has not been released by authorities.

The criminal cases successful Preston's sidesplitting did not look to beryllium successful online Maricopa County tribunal records, and it was not clear if immoderate defendants had attorneys who could speak connected their behalf. An lawyer for Hines successful 2 different cases said he did not correspond Hines successful nan execution case.

“We widen heartfelt gratitude to nan organization members who stepped up to supply accusation to unafraid these arrests," Preston's parents, Nick Lord and Autumn Curiel, said successful a connection distributed by their lawyer.

"But for rule enforcement’s corporate efforts and organization members’ invaluable cooperation, these arrests would not person happened," they said. "Each apprehension represents a measurement towards accountability and justness for our boy Preston."

An investigative expansive assemblage has been reviewing nan lawsuit since Feb. 7, Mitchell said. After nan indictments were returned Wednesday, Queen Creek constabulary arrested 3 of nan 4 suspects; Hines was already successful custody, her agency said.

Following Preston's decease and different assaults, constabulary successful nan neighboring metropolis of Gilbert person been looking astatine past cases of teenage group violence, including a pack investigation into a group called nan “Gilbert Goons.”

Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg and different officials did not opportunity that immoderate of nan 4 are associated pinch specified a group.

There are 12 progressive investigations into group teen unit successful Gilbert, Soelberg said Wednesday aft nan indictments successful nan Preston lawsuit were announced.

Hines is nan only of nan 4 suspects who person criminal cases against him successful Gilbert arsenic an adult: 3 aggravated battle cases, 2 of which allegedly happened earlier but which were not reported until December and January, Soelberg said.

Anger successful nan organization complete Preston’s decease prompted a benignant of online vigilantism, Soelberg said successful January, pinch incorrect accusation astir group not connected to nan lawsuit being posted online.

An guiltless 17-year-old was accused of being a murderer and was threatened because personification posted nan incorrect reside online, Soelberg said then.

That behaviour has continued, Mitchell said.

“To each of those who person continued to station innumerable, unfounded, ill-informed theories connected societal media: I dream you will region and see and measure nan effect that you whitethorn person had connected this family complete nan past respective months,” Mitchell said, noting that nan Lord family is "in agony" complete losing a child.

Phil Helsel

Phil Helsel is simply a newsman for NBC News.