State District Judge Raquel Jones declared a mistrial on Friday in the capital murder case against Billy Chemirmir. Chemirmir stood trial for the murder of Lu Thi Harris. Harris was an 81-year-old woman found dead in her Dallas home on March 20, 2018.
The jury sent Jones multiple notes throughout deliberations stating they were deadlocked. One note specified that they were at a standstill because a singular juror refused to change her vote.
Chemirmir’s attorneys requested a mistrial several times as the jury remained stalled, but Jones attempted to press the jury to come to a decision.
Around 2 p.m. on Friday, November 19, after the third note, Jones resorted to issuing an Allen charge, an instruction from the court firmly encouraging a deadlocked jury to reach a verdict. She urged them not to “violate [their] conscience but [to] continue deliberations.”
Though the Allen charge is considered unfavorable by some courts, Jones addressed the jurors. She said, “If this jury finds itself unable to arrive at a unanimous verdict, it will be necessary for this court to declare a mistrial.”
Jones continued, “there is no reason to hope the next jury will find these questions any easier to decide than you have found them.”
Jones finally declared a mistrial after the jurors sent a fourth note at 3:22 p.m. stating they were still unable to come to a unanimous agreement.
Though Billy Chemirmir was only on trial for the murder of Lu Thi Harris, the jury was presented details about attacks on two other women, 88-year-old Mary Brooks and 91-year-old Mary Bartel. Chemirmir’s attorneys claim the accusations against him regarding other alleged victims are a result of the prosecution’s inability to prove Chemirmir’s guilt in Harris’ death.
According to Dallas Morning News, a spokesperson for the Collin County District Attorney’s Office stated the mistrial in Dallas County does not change anything about their pending cases.
Members of several families of Chemirmir’s alleged victims watched the trial from a separate room within the courthouse. When the case was declared a mistrial, they made their disappointment clear to Dallas Morning News and stated they looked forward to future cases being prosecuted.
Billy Chemirmir, indicted on 18 counts of capital murder of elderly women in Dallas and Collin counties between 2016 and 2018, will remain incarcerated as he awaits his other pending cases.