A jury has convicted Edward Dominic Thomas in the beating of Muhlaysia Booker, a Dallas transgender woman who was later shot to death in a separate incident.
Thomas will reportedly serve 300 days total for assaulting Booker, but time served since his April arrest will count toward the sentence. He’ll be released early in 2020 and is not allowed to appeal the judgment.
Prosecutors had asked the jury to find Thomas guilty of aggravated assault — a felony — but he was convicted instead of misdemeanor assault.
“I feel overwhelmed — relieved,” Thomas’ mother told The Dallas Morning News after the ruling. “I’m just happy with the outcome. And I want to say, I’m sorry to the Booker family. And I hope justice is served for the loss of their child.”
The beating occurred on April 12, 2019 outside of an apartment complex. Following an apparent traffic dispute, a crowd gathered and someone offered $200 to anyone who would beat Booker. Thomas was among multiple people involved in the attack, which left Booker with a broken wrist and a concussion.
About a month later, Booker was shot and killed in a separate incident. Kendrell Lavar Lyles is awaiting trial for her murder.
Thomas’ attorneys claimed the fight was a dispute between two men, repeatedly using male pronouns and deadnaming Booker throughout the trial. At one point, one of Thomas’ defense attorneys was arrested for contempt of court after speaking out of turn and interrupting the judge.
Muhlaysia Booker is one of 21 trans women known to have been killed in the U.S. this year. Most of the victims have been women of color, and the majority died as a result of gun violence.
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a report entitled “Dismantling a Culture of Violence” showing that transphobic stigma, denial of opportunities, and increased risk factors combine to create a culture of violence that disproportionately impacts trans women.