A 34-year-old man has been arrested in Dallas in connection with the high-profile murder of Muhlaysia Booker, a 23-year-old transgender woman.
Booker was found shot to death on May 18. She’d earlier made national headlines after a video circulated on social media showing her being assaulted by a mob of men. Police said they didn’t believe the assault was connected with her killing.
Kendrell Lavar Lyles was arrested June 5 and subsequently charged with three counts of murder, including Booker’s, Maj. Max Geron of the Dallas Police Department said Wednesday. Lyles was originally apprehended after a tipster told authorities that he’d shot a woman, who has not been publicly identified, on May 22.
Police then connected Lyles with a second killing, which occurred on May 23. Lyles, police said, shot an unnamed man to death after meeting him to “engage in a drug transaction.”
As investigators probed these two slayings, they discovered that Lyles drove the same type of car that’s believed to have picked up Booker before her killing.
Police said cellphone analysis connected Lyles to the area where Booker’s body was found.
Dallas had been on edge following the slaying of Chynal Lindsey, a 26-year-old transgender woman who was found dead earlier this month less than a mile from where Booker’s body was discovered.
It was the third killing of a transgender woman of color in the city in the span of a year.
In light of Lindsey’s murder, police urged the public to “stay vigilant” and said they’d requested the assistance of the FBI in investigating the killings.
Geron revealed this week that Lyles was a “person of interest” in Lindsey’s death, but did not elaborate.
He said investigators were still looking into whether Lyles had ties to other killings involving transgender women.