Kendrell Lavar Lyles, 37, of Texas, pleaded guilty to fatally shooting Muhlaysia Booker a month after she was beaten by a mob over a minor car accident
A Texas man pleaded guilty to the 2019 shooting death of transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker, who made national news a month before her death when she was beaten by a mob over a minor car accident.
As a result of the plea deal with prosecutors, Kendrell Lavar Lyles, 37, will be sentenced to 48 years in prison for killing Booker, 23, in Dallas, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office said.
Just before the start of Lyles’s murder trial on Monday, he entered into the plea agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office said.
For Booker’s family, the conviction is bittersweet.
"No amount of time can bring Muhlaysia back, and although we wish the sentence was capital punishment, our family can finally have some sense of closure knowing that justice was served and he can’t cause any more families hurt and pain," Booker's mothers, Stephanie Houston, said in a statement to WFAA.
Booker’s tragic slaying came to light on May 18, 2019, when police responded to a report of a shooting on Valley Glen Drive in northeastern Dallas, Dallas Police Major Vincent Weddington said at a press conference at the time.
“Upon arrival, officers found the complainant lying face down in the street deceased from homicidal violence,” Weddington said.
The victim had no identification with her at the time of her alleged shooting death and was identified the following day as Booker, he said.
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Booker made national news the month before her death when she was violently beaten by a group of men in the parking lot of an apartment complex after she was accused of backing into one of the men’s car, police said at the time.
The incident was captured on video and ended up going viral.
The owner of the damaged car and the other men allegedly chased her down following the accident and demanded she pay for the damages.
They began kicking and punching Booker as she lay on the ground trying to protect herself, The New York Times reported.
The suspects reportedly used homophobic slurs during the assault. Booker lost consciousness and several women carried her away from the scene, the Times reported. Police said Booker was hospitalized after sustaining a concussion and a fractured wrist in the beating, the Times reported.
Edward Thomas, then 29, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in the attack. In Oct. 2019, he was convicted of misdemeanor assault in Booker’s attack, CBS News reported.
Lyles was arrested on June 5, 2019, in connection to Booker’s fatal shooting and the deaths of two other women, police said, the Associated Press reports.
Lyles had Booker's cellphone after her death, according to arrest records, WFAA reported at the time.
Lyles is also charged with fatally shooting Leticia Grant, 35, just four days after Booker’s slaying, on May 22, 2019, and fatally shooting Kenneth Cichocki, 29, a day later, authorities said, the AP reports.
Grant and Cichocki had both been in contact with Lyles before their slayings, police said.
He did not enter pleas about those cases on Monday.
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