Billy Chemirmir, accused of killing 22 older women, goes on trial again
A man charged with killing 22 women in the Dallas area is set to be tried in the death of one of them after being convicted of capital murder in the death of another earlier this year.
The capital murder trial of Billy Chemirmir, 49, in the death of 87-year-old Mary Brooks is scheduled to begin Monday in Dallas. He received a sentence of life in prison without parole after being found guilty in April in the smothering death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. If convicted in Brooks' death, he'll receive a second sentence of life in prison without parole. He maintains his innocence.
His first trial in Harris' death ended in a mistrial last November when the jury deadlocked.
In the years following his arrest in 2018, police across the Dallas area reexamined the deaths of other older people that had been considered natural - even though families raised alarm bells about missing jewelry. Four indictments were added this summer.
Dallas County prosecutors decided to seek two life sentenced rather than the death penalty when he tried Chemirmir on two of the 13 capital murder cases against him in the county. Prosecutors in neighboring Collin County haven't said if they will try any of their nine capital murder cases against Chemirmir.
Chemirmir's arrest was set in motion in March 2018 when a woman who was 91 at the time told police that a man had forced his way into her apartment at an independent living community for seniors, tried to smother her with a pillow and took her jewelry.
Police said when they found Chemirmir the next day in the parking lot of his apartment complex. He was holding jewelry and cash, and had just thrown away a large red jewelry box. Documents in the box led them to the home of Harris, who was found dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.
In a video interview with police, Chemirmir told a detective that he made money buying and selling jewelry and had also worked as a caregiver and a security guard.
Most of the people Chemirmir is accused of killing lived in apartments at independent living communities for older people. The women he's accused of killing in private homes include the widow of a man he had cared for while working as an at-home caregiver.
Loren Adair Smith, whose 91-year-old mother is among those Chemirmir is charged with killing, will be among the many relatives of victims attending the trial, which, she said, brings a "huge bag of mixed feelings," CBS DFW reported.
"At the same time of having that dread feeling, we are really glad to go back and bring this chapter to a close," Smith said.
During a phone interview from jail earlier this year, Chemirmir denied all the charges against him and told The Dallas Morning News that he is "100% sure I will not go to prison."
"I am not a killer," Chemirmir told the newspaper. "I'm not at all what they're saying I am. I am a very innocent person. I was not brought (up) that way. I was brought (up) in a good family. I didn't have any problems all my life."
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