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A retrial date has been set for suspected Texas serial killer Billy Chemirmir in one of the many deaths he's been linked to.
Court documents obtained by local outlet KXAS-TV show that Billy Chemirmir, 49, is now scheduled to be retried for capital murder on April 25 for the killing of Lu Harris, 81. Her 2018 slaying is one of 18 capital murder charges, all involving elderly women, that Chemirmir had been indicted on. Investigators have also linked him to six additional deaths between 2016 and 2018, the Dallas News reported in 2020, citing medical examiner reports and civil court filings.
A mistrial was declared in November regarding Harris’ death after the 12 presiding jurors said they were deadlocked 11 to 1. Families of victims were kept out of the courtroom during that trial due to social distancing concerns. Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Glen Fitzmartin has notified families of Chemirmir’s alleged victims last week of the new trial.
Even though the first trial was focused solely on Harris, other victims were certainly mentioned during the proceedings. In fact, the trial began with jurors listening to a taped deposition with one of the Chermimir's alleged survivors. In the recording, Mary Annis Bartel explained that she knew she was in trouble as soon as she opened her door and saw Chemirmir wearing gloves. She had explained that he'd smothered her with a pillow and when she came to, some of her most precious jewelry — including her wedding band and diamond engagement ring — was gone.
Chemirmir was first eyed as a possible attacker in 2018 when he was suspected of trying to smother a 91-year-old woman to death, The Star-Telegram in Fort Worth reported at the time. Before police arrested him in connection with that alleged incident, they caught him throwing a jewelry box into a dumpster, according to a 2018 press release from the Dallas Police Department. That jewelry box led them to the body of Harris; her lipstick was smeared on the pillow used to kill her.
After the discovery of Harris' body, investigators searched Chemirmir's apartment and allegedly found jewelry, cell phones, and other belongings of other victims. Prosecutors say he targeted many North Texas senior living residents while either working as health care staff or impersonating maintenance personnel at the facilities. Many of the deaths were initially listed as due to natural causes.
Chemirmir has pleaded not guilty to Harris’ murder. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted of her killing.
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