Update: Four new capital murder indictments were returned Tuesday against a convicted murderer from the Dallas area, with authorities now having brought charges against him in the deaths of 22 older women in Collin and adjoining Dallas County, the AP reports. A Collin County grand jury indicted Billy Chemirmir, 50, on single capital murder counts in each of the 2017 deaths of Marilyn Bixler, 90; Diane Delahunty, 79; Helen Lee, 82; and Mamie Miya, 93. Chemirmir already has been convicted in Dallas County of capital murder in the 2018 death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty, so Chemirmir was sentenced automatically to life in prison without parole. Chemirmir remained Tuesday in the Dallas County jail awaiting a trial scheduled for October. Our earlier story from April 28 follows:
A man charged with killing 18 older women in the Dallas area over a two-year span was found guilty of murder Thursday and sentenced to life in prison in one of the cases against him after an earlier mistrial, the AP reports. Jurors took about 45 minutes to convict Billy Chemirmir, 49, of capital murder in the March 2018 smothering of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. Prosecutors said that after Chemirmir and Harris were both at the same Walmart, he went to her home, killed her and stole her jewelry. It was Chemirmir’s second trial in her death, after the first jury to hear the case deadlocked in November. Prosecutors weren't seeking the death penalty, so state District Judge Raquel “Rocky” Jones immediately sentenced Chemirmir to life in prison without parole.
Chemirmir, who has maintained that he’s innocent, is charged with capital murder in the deaths of 12 other women in Dallas County and five in nearby Collin County. Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot has said he plans to try Chemirmir for at least one more death. Relatives of those he's accused of killing praised Thursday's verdict at an emotional news conference. "This one conviction represents justice for all of the families,” said Shannon Dion, whose 92-year-old mother, Doris Gleason, was killed in 2016.
Defense attorney Kobby Warren said during closing arguments that prosecutors hadn’t proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Chemirmir was ever at Harris’ home, calling the state’s case “all bark, no bite.” As in the first trial, the defense didn't call any witnesses and Chemirmir did not testify. Prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin told jurors that he gave them more than enough evidence to convict. “This is an easy decision, mainly because we bit so much off,” said Fitzmartin, who noted that when Chemirmir was arrested, he had Harris’ jewelry and the keys to her home. Jurors also saw surveillance video of Harris and Chemirmir at the same Walmart on the day she was found dead. (More on the chilling case here.)