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The family of a 16-year-old boy beaten to death at a Halloween party has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the seven people charged with murdering him.

Preston Lord’s parents accuse their son’s alleged attackers of battery and “aiding and abetting” in conduct that led to his death when they chased him, knocked him to the ground and took turns hitting, kicking and stomping him.

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

The suit claims Travis and Rebecca Renner “knew or should have known” their son had a history of violence and had beaten and bullied at least two other kids before he was reported to have joined the gang assault on Lord.

“The Lord family seeks justice and accountability for all those who contributed to Preston’s death,” Andrew and Bryn K. DeFusco, attorneys for the Lords, told The Arizona Republic. “This lawsuit brings them one step closer to achieving that goal. They are grateful for the community support and are determined to see this through to the end.”

Unlike many civil lawsuits, a desired dollar amount for damages was not specified. Any compensation would be left for a jury to decide.

The lawsuit comes four months after Queen Creek police arrested four adults and three juveniles in connection with the attack on Lord. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has charged them with first-degree murder and kidnapping. All have pleaded not guilty.

Fatal beating of Preston Lord sparked a look at ‘Gilbert Goons’ cases

Lord’s fatal beating galvanized the southeast Valley. It sparked community outrage, prompting marches, vigils and protests that demanded 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 tied to the “Gilbert Goons,” a gang of teenagers who recorded their blitz-style attacks on teens in parks and parking 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 maintains Preston Lord’s parents, Nick Lord and Autumn Curiel, “sustained damages, including loss of love, affection, companionship, care, protection and guidance; and pain, grief, sorrow, anguish, stress, shock and mental suffering, all as a result of Preston’s death.”

It says the seven alleged attackers, individually and collectively, “intended and did cause harmful or offensive contact with Preston, and therefore committed a battery” upon him.

The seven charged are Treston Billey, 19; William “Owen” Hines, 18; Jacob Meisner, 17; Talan Renner, 17; Taylor Sherman, 19; Dominic Turner, 20; and Talyn Vigil, 18.

Police in March released an investigative report describing the roles of each of Lord’s alleged attackers in the beating. According to the report, the attack took seconds, beginning with an argument in the backyard of the party house. When it was over, Lord stopped breathing and was unresponsive. He died two days later of traumatic brain injuries at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

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

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

  • During 2017-18, as a fifth grade student in the Gilbert Unified School District, Renner threatened to “shoot up” his school.
  • During 2019-21, Renner was involved in either a fight or bullying incident while a student at Sossaman Middle School within the Higley Unified School District.
  • Between March 2022 and March 2023, Renner, while a resident at the Diamond Ranch Academy residential treatment center in Hurricane, Utah, assaulted another resident, “thereby inflicting serious physical injury.”

The Renners could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Owners of home where Lord was attacked outside also named in suit

The lawsuit targets Roberto and Emily Correa, the owners of the home where the party took place in the Queen Creek Ranchettes ⅠⅠⅠ subdivision near Sossaman and Chandler Heights roads. It accuses them of failing to “supervise the activities of all party attendees.” It says alcohol was available at the party, and the homeowners should have known it. The suit also says the Correas failed to ensure the safety of the partygoers.

Police reports state that while hundreds of kids partied in an RV garage and the backyard of the house, the Correas were inside watching television and drinking wine. They later told police they were under the impression only a few of their daughters’ friends were out in the garage and were unaware masses of kids were congregating on the other side of their sliding glass door in their backyard and patio.

Roberto Correa told police he had no idea Lord had been attacked on the street outside his home. He said it wasn’t until he heard a girl yelling that he discovered the crush of teenagers. He ordered everyone out of his backyard, yelling, “Get the f— out now!”

He told police he did not see anyone drinking alcohol or see any evidence of it in his backyard. Correa said he wasn’t paying too much attention. He was more concerned with shutting down the party. But he acknowledged breaking out his garden hose to spray puddles of vomit off his patio.

The Correas could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

This is the latest civil suit involving Preston Lord and the Gilbert Goons. In February, Scottsdale lawyer Richard Lyons filed lawsuits on behalf of two beating victims. His suits accused 17 individuals he identified as Goons of assaulting unsuspecting victims, recording attacks and sharing photos and videos of them on social media.

One lawsuit also named 26 parents of 13 Goons who Lyons said were underage at the time of the attacks.

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

Nick Lord recently told The Republic he was upset over the Gilbert Police Department’s failure to intervene in Goons assaults months before his son was beaten to death.

He said a police report released in June showing Gilbert police had information about gang attacks involving members of the Goons in early 2023 raised issues of accountability. He said he was upset with Gilbert’s complacency in investigating teen beatings.

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

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

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