Juror complications caused a setback at the start of accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir’s retrial on April 25 at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas.
As reported by The Dallas Express, 49-year-old Chemirmir’s retrial comes after jurors in his first trial in November said they were “hopelessly deadlocked” because a single juror refused to change her vote. State District Judge Raquel Jones declared the first trial a mistrial.
Chemirmir’s retrial reportedly got off to a slow start Monday after a juror recognized one victim’s relative in court, consequently raising questions from Chemirmir’s lawyers about the juror’s ability to consider the evidence fairly. The juror said he recognized the relative after arriving at the courthouse.
The juror said the relative, identified as Shannon Dion, was a member of his church and that he remembered her talking about the case in a news interview.
Although Dion’s mother was killed in 2016, her death will not be mentioned during Chemirmir’s trial. Nevertheless, the defense lawyer argued that the juror’s association with Dion would taint the jury.
“I don’t know how Mr. Chemirmir can get a fair trial if one of the jurors knows about an alleged offense that the other jurors will not know about,” Chemirmir’s defense lawyer Phillip Hayes argued. “Regardless of what he says, I don’t know how any human can put that aside.”
After a brief recess and questioning of the juror, State District Judge Raquel “Rocky” Jones ruled that he would remain on the jury. Jones revealed that the juror had shown himself to be capable of being a “fair and impartial juror in the case.
Another juror reportedly went to work instead of court. A bailiff told Judge Jones that she had called the juror and left several voicemails and text messages but did not get a response.
However, the trial got back on track after Dallas County sheriff’s deputies retrieved the missing juror from his workplace.
Upon arrival at the court, the juror told the judge that he had forgotten about the jury duty but promised to show up and be attentive for the rest of the trial.