Preston Lord’s parents file wrongful death and negligence lawsuit
8 mins read

Preston Lord’s parents file wrongful death and negligence lawsuit

Preston Lord’s parents file wrongful death and negligence lawsuit

play

The family of a 16-year-old boy who was beaten to death at a Halloween party has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against seven people accused of his murder.

Preston Lord’s parents are accusing his alleged attackers of assault and “aiding and abetting” the act that led to his death, after they chased him, knocked him to the ground and then alternately punched, kicked and stomped on him.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court also names the owners of the Queen Creek home who hosted the Oct. 28 party where Lord was attacked, as well as the parents of one of the teens charged in his killing, accusing them of neglect.

The lawsuit claims that Travis and Rebecca Renner “knew or should have known” that their son had a history of violence and that he had beaten and abused at least two other children before he allegedly joined the gang that attacked Lord.

“The Lord family is seeking justice and accountability for all those involved in Preston’s death,” Lords’ attorneys, Andrew and Bryn K. DeFusco, told The Arizona Republic. “This lawsuit brings them one step closer to achieving that goal. They are grateful for the community’s support and are committed to seeing this case through to the end.”

Unlike many civil lawsuits, the amount of damages sought was not specified. Any damages were to be determined by a jury.

The lawsuit was filed four months after Queen Creek police arrested four adults and three juveniles in connection with the attack on Lord. Maricopa County prosecutors charged them with first-degree murder and kidnapping. All have pleaded not guilty.

Preston Lord’s Fatal Beating Sparks Interest in ‘Gilbert Goons’ Cases

Lord’s fatal beating electrified the southeast Valley. It sparked community outrage, sparking marches, vigils and protests demanding accountability from police, school officials and politicians for failing to act sooner.

A December investigation by The Arizona Republic detailed how Lord’s death was linked to the “Gilbert Goons,” a gang of teens who filmed their blitz-style attacks on teens in parks and garages, outside fast-food restaurants and at house parties. The attacks, mostly in Gilbert, went unchecked by authorities for more than a year.

The lawsuit claims that Preston Lord’s parents, Nick Lord and Autumn Curiel, “have suffered damages, including loss of love, affection, companionship, care, protection, and guidance; and pain, grief, sadness, anguish, stress, shock, and mental anguish, all as a result of Preston’s death.”

The document said the seven alleged attackers, individually and collectively, “intentionally and actually caused harmful or offensive contact with Preston and in so doing committed an assault.”

Seven people were charged: Treston Billey (19), William “Owen” Hines (18), Jacob Meisner (17), Talan Renner (17), Taylor Sherman (19), Dominic Turner (20) and Talyn Vigil (18).

Police released an investigative report in March detailing the role of each of Lord’s alleged attackers in the beating. The report said the attack lasted several seconds and began with an argument in the backyard of a party house. When it ended, Lord stopped breathing and was unresponsive. He died two days later of brain injuries at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

According to the report, witnesses described Renner as one of Lord’s main attackers. They say Lord was knocked to the ground and Renner stood over him and delivered four “hammer blows” to his face. He then stood up and kicked him once before the others continued the gang attack, witnesses told police.

The lawsuit alleges that Renner’s parents knew of their son’s “propensity to engage in violence and inflict physical harm on others.” It cites three incidents:

  • During the 2017–18 school year, Renner, while a fifth-grader in the Gilbert Unified School District, threatened to “shoot up” his school.
  • Between 2019 and 2021, Renner was involved in a fight or was the victim of bullying while a student at Sossaman Middle School in the Higley Unified School District.
  • Sometime between March 2022 and March 2023, Renner, while a resident at Diamond Ranch Academy residential treatment center in Hurricane, Utah, assaulted another resident, “causing serious physical injury.”

The Renners could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The owners of the house where Lord was attacked are also named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit targets Roberto and Emily Correa, the owners of the home where the party was held in the Queen Creek Ranchettes ⅠⅠⅠ neighborhood near Sossaman and Chandler Heights streets, accusing them of “neglecting to supervise the activities of all partygoers.” It claims alcohol was available at the party and the homeowners should have known about it. The lawsuit also says the Correas failed to provide safety for partygoers.

Police reports say that while hundreds of children were playing in the RV garage and backyard, the Correases were inside, watching TV and drinking wine. They later told police that they were under the impression that only a few of their daughters’ friends were in the garage and were unaware that masses of children were gathering on the other side of the sliding glass doors in the backyard and patio.

Roberto Correa told police he had no idea Lord had been attacked in the street outside his home. He said it was only when he heard the girl screaming that he discovered the crowd of teenagers. He ordered everyone out of his yard, shouting, “Get the f**k out of here now!”

He told police he didn’t see anyone drinking alcohol or any evidence of it in his yard. Correa said he wasn’t paying much attention. He was more concerned with shutting down the party. He did admit, however, that he got out a garden hose to spray down puddles of vomit from his patio.

Correas could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

It’s the latest civil lawsuit involving Preston Lord and Gilbert Goons. In February, Scottsdale attorney Richard Lyons filed the lawsuits on behalf of two beating victims. His lawsuits accuse 17 people, identified as Goons, of assaulting the unsuspecting victims, filming the attacks and sharing photos and videos of them on social media.

One of the lawsuits also named 26 parents of 13 attackers, who Lyons said were minors at the time of the attack.

He described the Goons as a gang made up mostly of “rich, entitled white kids who want to be gangsters.” Lyons said parents are legally responsible for their children’s actions.

Nick Lord recently told The Republic that he was upset that Gilbert police did not intervene in a gang-related attack in the months before his son was killed.

He said a police report released in June showing that Gilbert police had information about gang attacks involving Goons members in early 2023 raised questions about accountability. He said he was angry about Gilbert’s complacency in investigating the teens’ beatings.

Preston Lord was described in his parents’ lawsuit as an honors student, three-sport athlete and member of the Combs High School Student Council.

Robert Anglen is an investigative reporter for The Republic. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on X @robertanglen.

Elena Santa Cruz is a justice reporter at The Republic. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on X @ecsantacruz3.