DALLAS — Suspected serial killer Billy Chemirmir is accused of murdering 18 elderly women across North Texas. Police fear the number of victims may actually be more than 25.
Chemirmir will go before a judge this week in his first trial for the killing spree he's accused of. It's a case years in the making.
Here's how we got here.
91-year-old Mary Bartel was attacked in her Plano apartment on March 19, 2018.
She told police a man forced his way in, smothered her with a pillow and then stole her jewelry after she passed out.
The next day, Plano police identified then-45-year-old Chemirmir as a suspect. Investigators say his car had been spotted at senior living communities in the area.
They found Chemirmir hours later at his North Dallas apartment throwing a jewelry box into a dumpster.
Police arrest him on outstanding warrants and take that jewelry box in for evidence.
That same day, Dallas police get involved because inside that jewelry box was Lu Harris' name.
When officers got to Harris' home, they found the 81-year-old dead. She had appeared to be smothered to death.
On March 21, Chemirmir is transferred to the Dallas County jail, now arrested for capital murder in Harris' case. At the time, his bond was set at $1 million.
On March 23, investigators announced there could be more victims and that they would start looking into the deaths of at least 750 elderly women in North Texas. They said Chemirmir used his experience as a home healthcare aid to target and exploit senior citizens.
By May 2019, Chemirmir was linked to the deaths of 12 elderly women in Dallas, Frisco and Plano.
All of them had been smothered by a pillow.
By December of 2020, that list had grown to 17 counts of capital murder. Several new victims — residents from the upscale Tradition-Prestonwood senior living complex in Dallas — were identified through a civil lawsuit.
By the end of the month, an 18th charge was added.
But despite the long list of charges against Chemirmir, Dallas County District Attorney John Cruezot told the victims' families in June 2021 he would not be seeking the death penalty.
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Instead, the DA's office will request two jury trials, with the goal of securing two life sentences without the possibility of parole.
In a statement, Cruezot wrote:
"In effect, there will be no chance for Mr. Chemirmir to die anywhere except in a Texas prison."
Chemirmir is currently being held on a $17.6 million bond.
His trial begins Monday morning in Dallas.