Virgil Slay was at home in Oak Cliff on the afternoon of October 1 when his landlord arrived to kick him out of the room he'd been renting from her.
His refusal sent the landlord, 42-year-old Toni Faye Taylor, into a rage. According to a DPD incident report, she first tried to physically drag him from the house. When that failed, she grabbed a yellow-handled ax that was apparently at hand and swung. Slay, 52, dodged the full impact of the blow, but the blade cut into his inner thigh. Taylor then dropped the ax began hurling heavy objects, one of which hit Slay's left knee.
Taylor was arrested for aggravated assault and would spend the next nine days in jail. But she still wanted Slay out of the house, and arranged his eviction over the phone from jail.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed by Dallas police, Taylor's mother, sister, and 36-year-old Keith Rains went to the house on October 6. There, Rains succeeded, literally, in throwing Slay out. He beat on Slay until Taylor's mother forced him to stop.
Rains returned later that day with Taylor's brother, 46-year-old Ricky Miles, and her juvenile son, but Slay wasn't there. His roommate, Jermaine Caldwell, was. As Miles would later tell Taylor, they "knocked his ass out. Knocked him slap out."
Caldwell told a friend that he had been kicked repeatedly in the head and face, but he refused to go to the hospital for two days. When he finally did go in for treatment, he fell into a coma, dying on October 12, six days after the attack.
Miles and Rains were arrested in October on aggravated assault charges. They were taken into custody again yesterday after the offense was upgraded to murder.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.