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Man arrested in deaths of Dallas transgender woman, 2 others

Updated June 12, 2019 - 8:13 pm

DALLAS — A 33-year-old man has been arrested in the slayings of three women in Dallas, including a transgender woman whose death brought nationwide attention, police said Wednesday.

Kendrell Lavar Lyles has been charged with three counts of murder in the deaths, including last month’s slaying of 23-year-old transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker, Dallas police Maj. Max Geron said.

Lyles was being held without bond in the Collin County Jail in McKinney. He has no attorney yet to speak for him.

The June 5 arrest came after tips from the public led police to Lyles as the suspect in the deaths of two women in the Collin County section of north Dallas, Geron said. Authorities haven’t disclosed the names of those victims, but further investigation led them to the Booker slaying in Dallas County, southeast of downtown Dallas.

Detectives found that Lyles’ car matched the description of the one witnesses reported seeing Booker enter on May 18, the night she was later found dead, Geron told reporters.

“We don’t know the motive (for the slayings) at this point. We know that the meeting for one (Collin County) murder was, according to the witness, to engage in a drug transaction. The reason for the shooting is still unknown that this point,” Geron said.

Lyles also is being investigated in connection with the death of 26-year-old transgender woman Chynal Lindsey, whose body was found June 1 in White Rock Lake in Dallas, Geron said.

Even before Lindsey was found dead, police officials had said they were investigating a possible connection between the shooting deaths of Booker and another transgender women, 29-year-old Brittany White, as well as the nonfatal stabbing of a third transgender woman.

Detectives continue to investigate the White slaying last October, Geron said.

Booker’s death came a month after a cellphone video showed her being brutally beaten in a separate incident. Police have said that no evidence was found to link Booker’s death to her April 12 beating following a minor traffic accident.

According to a police affidavit, the other driver involved in the accident had a gun and refused to let Booker leave until she paid for the damage to his vehicle. A crowd gathered and someone offered a man $200 to beat the woman. Other men also struck her, while one stomped on her head. Booker suffered a concussion, fractured wrist and other injuries, police said.

Video of the attack, which was shared on social media, showed Booker being beaten as the crowd hollered and watched. Edward Thomas, 29, was arrested and jailed on an aggravated assault charge.

Thomas’ attorneys have issued a statement saying Thomas wasn’t involved in Booker’s death and sending condolences to her family.

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