Man who killed Muhlaysia Booker is going away for a long time

Author: Alex Bollinger

Kendrell Lyles, 37, was just sentenced to 48 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in connection to the 2019 murder of Muhlaysia Booker, 22, who was transgender.

After the attack, she had to be taken to the hospital and treated for facial fractures. Her arm was also in a sling.

The video made national headlines and brought attention to the violence Black transgender women often face. Her family said she was attacked because of her identity.

A month later, she was murdered. Booker was found dead from a gunshot wound on the morning of May 18. A witness saw a car that Booker entered late the night before in an area of the city frequented by sex workers. The description of the car matched Lyles’, and both of their phones showed that they were at the same location when she was killed. Her body was found a few miles from where she entered his car.

Lyles pled guilty to murder just as jury selection was set to begin for his trial. He is also charged with the murders of Leticia Grant, 35, and Kenneth Cichocki, 29. Both of those people were killed in May 2019, like Booker.

“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,” said Booker’s mother, Stephanie Houston.

Lyles’ attorney said that the sentencing “was the right result” and that he didn’t know the motive for the killing.

Edward Thomas, the man who beat Booker a month before her death, was cleared of felony assault and convicted of misdemeanor assault.

At Thomas’ trial, the jury heard that Booker backed her car accidentally into someone else’s. The driver held her at gunpoint to get her to pay for the damage and wouldn’t let her go.

A crowd gathered, and someone offered Thomas $200 to beat Booker.

“He threw a punch, he threw 20 punches, he threw 26 punches,” prosecutor Robert Withers said.

During his trial, Thomas’s lawyer, Andrew Wilkerson, repeatedly misgendered and deadnamed Booker in an effort to make the altercation seem like “mutual combat” between two men. He argued that Booker was at fault even though Thomas beat her because she tried to leave the scene without exchanging information, and he downplayed her injuries as “scratches.”

When the prosecutor read Booker’s name and birthdate into the record, another defense attorney, Michael Campbell interrupted: “Read the sex! What does the sex say?”

Speaking at a rally after the beating, Booker told supporters: “This time, I can stand before you, whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial.”

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Alex Bollinger

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