COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — The Collin County District Attorney's Office has some difficult decisions to make about whether to pursue a case against Billy Chermirmir.
Chemirmir, 49, was convicted a second time in a Dallas County court and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
But investigators know Chemirmir, who is accused in the deaths of 22 elderly citizens, has victims in Collin County. And it has many wondering whether the D.A. will seek the worst punishment: the death penalty.
"Amongst themselves they're having a vigorous debate. They're also wanting to be inclusive of the families of the victims," said attorney and former Collin County judge Scott J. Becker with law firm McCathern, Shokouhi, Evans, and Grinke.
Becker is not connected to this case and is only providing his legal expertise on the matter. He said death penalty cases are very different from capital murder cases where life in prison is the maximum punishment.
"The jury selection process alone would be anywhere from four to six weeks just to select the jurors," said Becker.
Becker said while the underlying burden of proof for murder is the same, death penalty cases come with added elements. More lawyers are appointed in these cases. There are longer appeals, which can last up to 10 to 20 years.
Also, death penalty cases require exhaustive investigations that, he said, may even require overseas travel as Chemirmir is not originally from the United States.
"If they want to seek the death penalty that significantly increases the cost to the taxpayer," said Becker.
The last time Collin County prosecutors sought the death penalty was for 28-year-old Brandon McCall, who was convicted of capital murder in the shooting of Richardson Officer David Sherrard.
The Collin County DA's Office does not have any comment at this time.