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Victims' Relatives Express 'Sense Of Shock' After Suspected Serial Killer Billy Chemirmir Avoids Death Penalty
After the Dallas County District Attorney's Office reportedly dismissed 11 murder indictments following Billy Chemirmir's second murder conviction, the relatives of his alleged victims hope another county will push for his execution.
The surviving victims of a Texas man accused of killing at least 22 elderly women say they feel cheated that he wasn’t sentenced to death.
Billy Chemirmir, 49, has been ordered to serve two life sentences without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of two capital murders, the most recent being the 2018 murder of Mary Brooks, 87, for which he was convicted on Oct. 7.
Chemirmir’s first life sentence came from a jury’s decision to find him guilty at a retrial in April for the 2018 murder of Lu Thi Harris, 81.
Alleged to be one of the most prolific serial killers in America, the Kenyan-born convicted murderer seemed to have a pattern. Between 2016 and 2018, he is accused of passing himself off as a caregiver or handyman in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before pushing his way into his victims’ homes, many of whom lived in senior living communities and facilities.
Chemirmir allegedly smothered his victims with a pillow and, in most cases, stole the victims’ jewelry, as he allegedly did in the cases of Harris and Brooks.
The murders of Brooks and Harris were prosecuted in Dallas County, where Chemirmir also once faced 11 murder indictments. Those indictments were thrown out last week in light of the previous two convictions being secured, according to Fox News.
Ellen French House, who gave a powerful victim impact statement at Chemirmir’s most recent sentencing, is one of several family members who expressed frustration that the cases were dismissed. She is the daughter of one of Chemirmir’s earliest victims, 85-year-old Norma Wilson French, whose 2016 case will now not be prosecuted.
“Not only was it another horrible feeling, but the paperwork doesn’t even have her name on it,” she told Fox News. “Just a number now, I guess.”
During her victim impact statement earlier this month, House described how Chemirmir “pried” her mother’s wedding ring from her finger.
She recently expressed that she hoped Collin County — where Chemirmir faces another nine murder charges — would sentence him to death, should Chemirmir be found guilty.
“I can tell; he’s just not there,” House stated following Chemirmir’s second life sentence. “He just reeks of evil. I made really good eye contact with him several times, but no expression whatsoever.”
Oxygen.com reached out to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office for comment on the dismissed murder indictments but did not receive an immediate response.
However, a spokesperson for District Attorney John Creuzot spoke with Fox News, defending Creuzot’s decision to sentence Chemirmir to life for the Brooks and Harris murders, backing up the state’s previously-stated intentions to seek the death penalty.
“We have accomplished what we set out to do. There is no question that Billy Chemirmir will spend the rest of his life behind bars,” the spokesperson stated. “The pain and loss he has caused will never be erased, but we can all sleep better at night knowing he has, in effect, indeed received a death sentence. Billy Chemirmir will die in the state penitentiary.”
Ellen French House was not alone in wanting Chemirmir executed.
Cheryl Pangburn, whose 90-year-old mother, Marilyn Bixler, was found dead on her apartment floor in September 2017 and initially believed to have died from natural causes, also hoped Dallas County would push to have Chemirmir executed. She claimed the decision by Dallas County prosecutors came with a “sense of shock.”
“She was a joy, and she was absolutely thriving where she was,” Pangburn told Fox News. “She absolutely loved living where she lived, and it just ended tragically.”
Pangburn called her mother’s murder the “ultimate crime,” which deserved the “ultimate punishment.”
Ellen House and Cheryl Pangburn are two of several children of Chemirmir’s alleged victims to create “Secure Our Seniors’ Safety,” a non-profit organization aimed at improving safety for senior citizens in residential communities.
Billy Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018, shortly after he allegedly attacked 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel at her senior living community in Plano. Bartel lived to share her account of what allegedly happened before passing away in 2020, as recorded in a deposition reviewed in the Harris and Brooks trials after her death.
Bartel claimed she knew she was in “grave danger” when she opened the door to Billy Chemirmir, according to the Associated Press.
Chemirmir allegedly pushed his way into Bartel’s home, demanding, “Don’t fight me, lie on the bed.”
He then allegedly smothered Bartel with a pillow, causing her to lose consciousness. When she came to, both her attacker and her jewelry were gone.
Investigators found Chermirir the next day at his nearby apartment, according to the Associated Press. He was in possession of jewelry, cash and a recently discarded jewelry box containing documents, leading investigators to the home of Lu Thi Harris, who was found dead in her bedroom.
Authorities took a fresh look at past cases with similar patterns, eventually connecting the dots and leading them to pursue nearly two dozen murder charges.
Collin County prosecutors have yet to decide whether or not they’ll seek life or death for their nine cases, according to ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA.
Attempts to reach Collin County officials were unsuccessful.
Prison records reviewed by Oxygen.com show Chemirmir is currently housed at the TDCJ Holliday Transfer Facility in Huntsville, Texas.