Man Arrested in Killing of Black Trans Woman in Dallas, Muhlaysia Booker

Illustration for article titled Man Arrested in Killing of Black Trans Woman in Dallas, Muhlaysia Booker
Photo: Collin County Jail via AP

Dallas Police have arrested a man they believe to be responsible for killing three women in Dallas, including Muhlaysia Booker, a black trans woman whose death drew national attention last month.


Kendrell Lavar Lyles, 34, has been charged with three counts of murder, reports the Associated Press. In a press conference on Wednesday night, police told reporters they’re also investigating a possible connection between Lyles and the death of another black trans woman, 26-year-old Chynal Lindsey. Her body was pulled from White Rock Lake on June 1, just weeks after Booker’s death.

Police Major Max Geron told reporters that investigators don’t know the motives for the murders, according to CBS News. Lyles has been in police custody since June 5.

Lyles’ arrest comes after a tip came in to police linking him to the May 22 murder of another woman. During the course of their investigation into two other homicides, Dallas detectives discovered Lyles drove the same car Booker was reported to have gotten into shortly before her death on May 18. The Daily Beast reports:

Detectives working that case realized Lyles’ car—a light-colored Lincoln LS—matched the description of the vehicle that picked up Booker at an intersection on the city’s southeast side before she was killed.

Police said Lyles’ cellphone showed him frequenting that intersection, including when Booker was picked up there. Police said Lyles’ phone also put him in the vicinity of where Booker was killed.

Booker, 23, first made national headlines in April after a video of her being brutally attacked by a group of men went viral. During the beating, a crowd shouted homophobic slurs at her. According to a police report, Booker suffered a concussion, fractured wrist and other injuries as a result of the assault.

One man, 29-year-old Edward Thomas, was arrested and jailed for aggravated assault for the April assault on Booker. As CBS notes, although the attack was flagged as a hate crime, gender identity is not covered under Texas’ hate crime laws.


Booker spoke out after the attack. “This time, I can stand before you,” she said in a press conference after the video had been widely circulated online, “whereas, in other scenarios, we are at a memorial.”

Weeks later, she was fatally shot.

Dallas police say they are looking into whether Lyles could be involved in more deadly attacks on transgender women. He is currently being held without bond and has no legal representative yet.

Staff writer, The Root.



The motive for these murders is that he looks like the grease that you’re not willing to keep on the stove any more and he lashed out at the most vulnerable targets he could find.