Suspected Texas Serial Killer Billy Chemirmir Stands Trial in 2nd of 22 Alleged Victims' Murders

Police photo of Billy Chemirmir
Dallas County Sheriff's Department

Billy Chemirmir is being tried for the second of 22 alleged murders of elderly women found dead in Texas.

After being convicted of capital murder in the death of one of the 22 elderly women he was charged with killing, a man  who investigators believe to be a serial killer is standing trial in another of the Texas women's deaths. 

The capital murder trial of Billy Chemirmir, 49, in the death of 87-year-old Mary Brooks began Monday, according to CBS.

Brooks was found dead inside of her Richardson home in January 2018, according to local outlet Fox 4. Groceries were reportedly still on the counter and Brooks' safe and jewelry were missing when she was found.

Brooks’ death had originally been deemed natural, but after an investigation following the arrest of Chemirmir, the medical examiner changed the cause of death to homicide, according to The Associated Press.

Richardson Police Sergeant Kelly Pagel testified that Chemirmir's cellphone pinged from the Walmart to Brooks' home, placing him at the scene of the crime, and that Chemirmir sold a rare piece of jewelry belonging to Brooks on the site Offer Up the following day, according to reports.

Chemirmir's arrest came after Mary Annis Bartel, who was 91 at the time, told police in March 2018 that a man had forced his way into her apartment in an independent living community for seniors, according to the AP. 

According to the outlet, Bartel — who died in 2020 — reported he tried to smother her with a pillow and took her jewelry. 

The report Bartel filed in 2018 led Plano police to investigate Chemirmir. During the investigation, they found documents and the keys to the late Lu Thi Harris' home in his possession, in addition to her jewelry box discarded in a nearby dumpster, according to reports.

Harris was found dead in her bedroom with lipstick smeared on her pillow, according to CBS. 

During Chemirmir’s trial for the death of 81-year-old Harris in November 2021, prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin said Harris and Chemirmir had been checking out at the same time at a Walmart store, according to The Associated Press.

“This is a case about stalking, smothering and stealing,” Fitzmartin told the jury.

Authorities alleged Chemirmir followed Harris from a nearby Walmart and smothered her with a pillow, according to Fox 4.

During Chemirmir’s trial for Harris's murder, Bartel said in a video deposition that she knew she was in “grave danger” the minute she opened her door. “My eyes were just fixated on these green rubber gloves that I saw ... I knew instantly when I saw those two green rubber gloves, number one, I should not have opened the door, number two, my life was in grave danger,” Bartel said on the video.

Chemirmir’s November 2021 trial in Harris' death ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked due to one jury member. He was found guilty during the retrial in April 2022.

He received a life sentence in prison without parole.

After Chemirmir’s arrest for the death of Harris in 2018, Dallas authorities re-examined the deaths of other older people that had been considered natural despite their families raising suspicion around missing jewelry, according to the AP.

Four indictments were added this summer, and Dallas County prosecutors sought two life sentences for Chemirmir rather than the death penalty when he was tried on two of the 13 capital murder cases against him, according to CBS. A majority of the people Chemirmir is accused of killing lived in apartments at independent living communities for older people, where prosecutors say he posed as a maintenance worker, according to Fox 4. The women he is accused of killing in private homes include the widow of a man he had cared for while working as an at-home caregiver.

Prosecutors are seeking a second life sentence for Chemirmir in the killing of Brooks, as it would the possibility of his sentence getting thrown out on appeal less likely, according to Fox 4.

Prosecutors in neighboring Collin County have not said if they will try any of their nine capital murder cases against Chemirmir.

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, according to local outlet KKTV.

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, according to CBS. 

Smith said attending the trial brings a "huge bag of mixed feelings." "At the same time of having that dread feeling, we are really glad to go back and bring this chapter to a close," she said.

Chemirmir has continued to deny all charges against him, according to reports. During a phone interview from jail earlier this year, Chemirmir told The Dallas Morning News that he is "100% sure I will not go to prison."

"I am not a killer," Chemirmir told the outlet. "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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