On Saturday afternoon, a panhandler, whom police later identified as 59-year-old Isaiah Caldwell, was working the traffic coming off Interstate 35 on Marsalis Avenue in East Oak Cliff when another panhandler, a 42-year-old woman, arrived at the same spot.
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She quickly offered a suggestion: Rather than compete with one another for the good will of strangers who, confronted with two panhandlers at the same spot, might be less inclined to open their wallets, why not cooperate? She would stand on the median and ask for money, since drivers would likely be more sympathetic to a woman, and the two would split the proceeds, 50/50.
It didn't take long for a kindhearted driver to stop and hand her a bill, which she took and promptly left her post. When she did, Caldwell was at her side, demanding his share. Fine, she said, but first she was going to buy a hot dog and soda. She'd give him the change when she was finished.
This, the woman told police, sent Caldwell into a sputtering rage. "Imma get you, bitch!" he screamed at her as he followed her across the parking lot. She started to run but tripped. He climbed on top of her and put the blade of a pocket knife to her throat. She clawed desperately at his face. He stabbed her in the hand in response but could do no more damage before some Good Samaritans tackled him and held him until police arrived.
Caldwell was taken to Lew Sterrett for a parole violation and a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.