US crime: Man accused of killing 18 women in Texas faces trial

Billy Chemirmir
Billy Chemirmir

Billy Chemirmir, 48, faces life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder

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A man charged with killing 18 older women in Dallas and its suburbs over a two-year span is set to go on trial over one of the deaths.

Billy Chemirmir, 48, faces life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder over the death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. Prosecutors have decided not to seek the death penalty.

Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018 after 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel survived an attack by a man who forced his way into her apartment at a senior living community in Plano.

The man told her “don’t fight me” as he tried to smother her with a pillow, before leaving with jewellery.

When police tracked Chemirmir to his nearby apartment the next day, he was holding jewellery and cash.

A jewellery box police say he had just thrown away led them to a Dallas home, where Harris was found dead in her bedroom, with lipstick smeared on her pillow.

After his arrest, authorities announced they would review hundreds of deaths, signalling the possibility that a serial killer had been stalking older people.

Over the following years, the number of people Chemirmir was accused of killing grew.

Most of the victims were killed at independent living communities for older people, where Chemirmir allegedly forced his way into apartments or posed as a handyman.

He is also accused of killing women in private homes, including the widow of a man he had cared for in his job as an at-home caregiver.

Chemirmir’s lawyer has said the evidence against his client is circumstantial.