Attorneys make final arguments before new trial ruling for Preston Strong

Yuma, AZ - Attorneys had one final opportunity to state their cases as to why a former Yuma County Superior Court judge should or should not grant a new trial to Preston Strong, the man convicted of killing six people nearly 12 years ago in the La Mesa Street Murders.

Friday morning, county prosecutors and Preston Strong’s new defense attorney, Jerry Hernandez, summarized their arguments based on April’s hearing. The defense argue’s that one of the jury members knew about Strong's conviction for the 2007 murder of Dr. Satinder Gill, but did not say anything because she was not specifically asked about it. Prosecutors strongly disagreed with the defense, stating that there was no juror misconduct. Prosecutors say that the defense was only thinking about the jurors thought process and not their conduct. 

Judge Maria Elena Cruz, who presided over Strong's trial in February, jurisdictionally denied motion for a new trial. Cruz concluded that because the defense failed to demonstrate that the juror intentionally withheld information about the Dr. Gill murder, and it was the juror who brought the information about Strong’s prior conviction into the jury room, and not outside information, there was no jury misconduct.   

Strong was not present in Friday's proceedings. Strong, 50, was declared guilty on all six counts of first-degree murder for killing his best friend Luis Rios, his girlfriend and her four children. 

However, Judge Cruz said she would set aside a court's judgment to overturn Strong’s first-degree murder conviction and issue a written ruling in the near future. 

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