DALLAS (AP) – 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 began yesterday 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 re-examined the deaths of other older people that had been considered natural – even though families raised alarm bells about missing jewellery. Four indictments were added this summer.
In a video interview with police, Chemirmir told a detective that he made money buying and selling jewellery 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, where Chemirmir allegedly forced his way into apartments or posed as a handyman. He’s also accused of killing women in private homes, including the widow of a man he had cared for in his job as an at-home caregiver.
Dallas County prosecutors decided to seek two life sentences rather than the death penalty when he tried Chemirmir on two of the 13 capital murder cases against him in the county.
Prosecutors in neighbouring Collin County haven’t said if they will try any of their nine capital murder cases against Chemirmir.