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Accused serial killer linked to the deaths of elderly woman to be tried again later this spring

Re-trial set for accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir.

DALLAS — Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the date of the trial and jury selection.

An accused North Texas serial killer believed to be connected to the murders of several elderly women will be headed back to court in April.

Billy Chemirmir will be re-tried for the murder of 81-year-old Lu Harris on April 24, with jury selection slated to happen the week before.

The retrial comes roughly five months after the first trial in November 2021 ended in a mistrial because the jury remained deadlocked, 11-1. It was not clear after the trial why a unanimous decision couldn't be reached, and jurors do not have to provide a reason for their decision.

Chemirmir is accused of murdering 18 elderly women across North Texas, but authorities said they feared the number may be closer to 25. Chemirmir lived in independent living facilities where detectives said he robbed residents of their jewelry and then suffocated them.  

Chemirmir, if convicted for a Dallas woman's murder, would have faced a life sentence without the possibility of parole, after Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot declined to seek the death penalty.

After the presiding judge declared a mistrial in the November 2021 trial, family members of Chemirmir's accused victims expressed their frustration.

"We are devastated at the outcome of this trial... we are sickened that we have to come back and hear the same evidence again that Billy Chemirmir has killed so many people," said Loren Adair Smith, whose mother was alleged victim Phyllis Payne.

Cliff Harris, the former Dallas Cowboys safety whose mother-in-law is one of the alleged victims, said it was "unfair and unfavorable" that the families couldn't be in the courtroom.

"Having a chance to look at Billy Chemirmir and have the jury look at the victims' children and their feelings. It was the wrong thing to do," Harris said.

Chemirmir still faces other charges in Collin County. A timeline for a trial in that case has not yet been determined.

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