NATIONAL NEWS

Man charged with killing 18 in Texas convicted of 1 murder

Apr 28, 2022, 8:19 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 11:02 am

Accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir, left, listens to private investigator Tonia Silva during the...

Accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir, left, listens to private investigator Tonia Silva during the final day of his re-trial on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas. Billy Chemirimir, a man charged with killing 18 older women in the Dallas area over a two-year span was convicted Thursday in one of the cases against him and was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

(Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

(AP) — 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.

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.

Though Chemirmir was being tried this week only in Harris’ death, prosecutors also presented evidence to jurors about an attack that 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel survived the day before Harris was killed and the killing of 87-year-old Mary Brooks about six weeks earlier.

Chemirmir was arrested the day after Bartel said a man forced his way into her apartment and held a pillow over her face.

Fitzmartin said police subsequently found that a few days earlier there had been a report of a suspicious person at the independent living community where she lived. A license plate number led officers to Chemirmir.

Police detectives testified about going to Chemirmir’s nearby apartment complex and watching as he drove into the parking lot. Detectives said he threw items into a dumpster and then, as they got him out of his vehicle, he was holding jewelry and cash in his hand.

Police have said that a large red jewelry box in the dumpster contained documents that led them to Harris’ home. They found her dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.

The number of people Chemirmir was accused of killing grew as authorities reinvestigated deaths previously thought to be natural. Most of the people were found dead in their apartments at independent living communities for older people, where Chemirmir has been accused of forcing his way into apartments or posing as a handyman. Some lived in private homes, including Harris and the widow of a man Chemirmir had cared for in his job as an at-home caregiver.

M.J. Jennings, whose 83-year-old mother, Leah Corken, was killed in 2016, said she hoped the conviction would be “the first step of healing for all of these families.”

Bartel died in 2020, but jurors heard a taped deposition of her describing opening her door the day she was attacked. She said she immediately focused on green rubber gloves the person was wearing, and tried to push the door shut but was overpowered.

“He said: ‘Don’t fight me, lie on the bed,’” Bartel said. She said her attacker “slammed” the pillow to her face and used “all his weight to keep me from breathing.”

She said she couldn’t remember details about the man’s appearance.

Bartel, who lost consciousness, later discovered she was missing her wedding band, diamond engagement ring and other jewelry.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Chemirmir listed jewelry belonging to Bartel and Brooks for sale online.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

People inspect damage and recover items from their homes following Israeli air strikes on February ...

Waafa Shurafa and Samy Magdy

U.S. says Israel has agreed to the framework for a Gaza cease-fire. Hamas now must decide

A senior U.S. official says Israel has essentially endorsed a framework of a proposed Gaza cease-fire and hostage release deal, and it is now up to Hamas to agree to it.

6 hours ago

yellow tape crossing blue and red lights...

Associated Press

Body parts of 2 people found in Long Island park and police are trying to identify them

Police on New York's Long Island were trying to identify human remains found in a popular suburban park that appear to be from a man and a woman.

8 hours ago

A vehicle drives through blowing snow near Interstate 80 (I-80) in the Sierra Nevada mountains at t...

Scott Sonner

Powerful storm in California and Nevada shuts interstate and dumps snow on mountains

Tens of thousands of customers are without power early Saturday and a 100-mile stretch of Interstate 80 remains closed indefinitely.

20 hours ago

FILE: Ballots are counted by Maricopa County Elections Department staff ahead of Tuesdays election ...

Associated Press

Arizona’s new voting laws that require proof of citizenship are not discriminatory, a US judge rules

A U.S. district judge has ruled Arizona legislators did not discriminate when they adopted laws requiring counties to verify the status of registered voters who haven’t provided proof of U.S. citizenship.

20 hours ago

Boeing fuselages leave the supply line for further construction....

Chris Isidore and Gregory Wallace, CNN

Boeing wants to buy back the company that builds the body of its troubled Max planes

Boeing said it is in talks to buy Spirit AeroSystems, a major supplier that was part of Boeing until a 2005 sale and one that was also involved in an Alaska Airlines mid-air door plug blowout.

23 hours ago

A killer whale known as Starboard preys on a great white shark in June off the South African coast,...

 Katie Hunt, CNN

A lone orca slayed a great white in less than two minutes. Scientists say it could signal an ecological shift

A pair of orcas have been killing great whites along a stretch of South African coastline.

23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Man charged with killing 18 in Texas convicted of 1 murder