Billy Chemirmir Back in Court after Mistrial

Billy Chemirmir Back in Court after Mistrial
Billy Chemirmir lowering his mask to speak during his trial in November. | Image by Tom Fox, The Dallas Morning News

Forty-nine-year-old Billy Chemirmir was back in court on Monday, facing a retrial for the murder of Lu Harris after a judge declared a mistrial last November.

Last year, the initial jury deliberations at the trial took 10 hours, with one juror claiming the defense had proven reasonable doubt. Prosecutors had video footage, cellphone data, and even one of the victim’s house keys, but no forensic evidence linking Chemirmir to any of the crimes.

Billy Chemirmir is accused of murdering 18 elderly women and stealing their valuable possessions, but the current trial focuses solely on the murder of 81-year-old Harris.

Prosecutors presented a plethora of circumstantial evidence that tied Chemirmir to his victims’ deaths.

“We are sickened that we have to come back and hear the same evidence again,” said one of the victim’s daughters, Loren Adair.

In Harris’s case, authorities stated that they observed Chemirmir put her jewelry box in a dumpster outside his Dallas residence. His car had been spotted at one of the crime scenes in Collin County, so he was already on their radar. As a result, officers had begun tailing him.

The jury was shown the pillow that prosecutors said was used to smother Harris, which still had her lipstick on it. He allegedly sold Harris’ jewels on the OfferUp app after killing her. Authorities were able to recover some of it.

The court also heard the recorded testimony of 92-year-old Mary Annis Bartel. She was the only known survivor of Chemirmir’s alleged attacks.

Bartel, who resided at an assisted living facility, called the police after claiming a man had forced his way into her home. Bartel died before the trial of Chemirmir but recorded her testimony for use at his trial. 

The elderly victim explained a man forced his way into her home and attempted to smother her with a pillow.

Prosecutors have focused on surveillance video showing Chemirmir at a Walmart store on the same days as several of his victims. The prosecution has called Walmart the hunting grounds of the alleged serial killer. 

Prosecutors presented phone records that tracked Chemirmir from Walmart to a victim’s home and then, nine minutes later, to a Gold Exchange to sell the victim’s jewelry. 

“It’s like he went to the bank and took somebody’s life and cashed it in,” said one of the victim’s family members.

Because prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, Chemirmir faces an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release if convicted.

Billy Chemirmir continues to maintain that he is innocent.

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