Trans woman allegedly has throat slit by man whom she met on dating app, she says

Mycah Hatfield Image
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Online dating attack: Transgender woman, Tayla Smith, says dating app match, Kordel Stewart cut her throat after meeting in person
"If you don't fight back, you're going to die." The 22-year-old victim spoke to ABC13 after the ordeal, explaining that she was upfront about being transgender and that he exhibited no red flags.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A transgender woman said she had her throat slit during a first date with a man she said she met on a dating app.

The video above is from ABC13's Live Streaming Channel.

Kordel Stewart, 24, is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the alleged attack that happened on Sept. 20.

The 22-year-old victim, Tayla Smith, said she has been on dating apps before, but has never met up with anyone in person.

She described Stewart as a "gentleman" before their date and said she did not see any red flags. A couple of days after meeting and texting with Stewart, she said she invited him to her home in southeast Houston.

SEE HERE: Transgender woman seen on video in brutal attack speaks out for first time

Before the two met, Smith said she told Stewart she was transgender.

"I would never not tell a person," Smith said. "That was something discussed way before we even started having a conversation."

According to Smith, Stewart arrived at her home around 5 p.m. with a backpack. Smith said she searched the bag but only found clothes inside.

While they were together, she said the two watched a movie, ate dinner together, and cuddled.

Smith said about five hours later, the two began kissing before he allegedly pinned her hands under his knees, pulled out a knife and slit her throat.

"I guess it was in his shorts, and he just slit my throat at the same time as he covered my mouth," Smith said.

From there, Smith describes a violent brawl that ensued. She said Stewart beat her up as they battled over the knife.

"At this point, I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, Tayla! If you don't fight back, you're going to die. He's going to get this knife out of your hands, and he's going to stab you to death,'" she remembered.

Stewart's mugshot shows scratches on his face.

Smith said she was able to reach neighbors for help. Stewart was arrested hours later and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He remains in the Harris County Jail on a $125,000 bond.

Smith received stitches in her neck and hand, where she grabbed the knife during the fight.

When asked if she thought Stewart was trying to kill her, Smith said, "I know he was trying to kill me. I don't think anything. I know he was trying to kill me. If the knife were a little bit sharper, I would have been dead."

RELATED: Man sentenced to 36 years for murder of transgender woman in 2019

Smith said she does not believe she was attacked because she was transgender. Stewart was aware before the confrontation, she said.

"I still want to know what it is," Smith said. "I cooked for him. We prayed over our food, and we enjoyed each other's company. We laughed."

Before inviting him over, Smith said she did not know about prior charges Stewart was facing.

Court records in Galveston show Stewart was charged with murder in 2020. He was accused of shooting and killing a man during a sale of shoes.

The case was dismissed in April of 2023. Records cite that an eyewitness, a surviving victim of the shooting, refused to cooperate.

The Galveston County District Attorney's Office said they had no option other than to drop the charges when the witness decided not to cooperate. Still, they do have the option to re-file the case if the witness decides to cooperate.

Stewart was also charged in 2022 for having a shank, or a makeshift knife in the jail. He pleaded guilty in the case and was given credit for time served.

"Please search their names," Smith said about using dating apps. "I feel like if I would have searched his name up and I would have seen that, I probably would have been like 'No.'" Do your background checks and just be safe."

Stewart's hired defense attorney declined to comment.

He is expected back in court on Jan. 17.

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