Image Source: KXAS-TV video screenshot
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On Friday, a Dallas man accused of killing 22 elderly women was convicted of capital murder for a second time.
Earlier this week, Billy Chemirmir, 49, was found guilty of murdering 87-year-old Mary Brooks. In April, he was convicted in the death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris.
The Dallas man, who has maintained his innocence, is accused of preying on elderly women residing in apartments in independent senior living communities. He would allegedly force his way into the victims' homes or pose as a handyman to get inside. In one case, he is accused of using his job as a caregiver to gain access to his victim.
Since Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot decided not to seek the death penalty, Chemirmir currently faces two life sentences without the possibility of parole. Trial dates have not been set for the additional 11 capital murder cases against him in Dallas County.
Collin County has nine capital murder cases against Chemirmir, but it has not yet announced if it plans to try those cases.
Most of the deaths were believed to be from natural causes, which kept suspicion off of Chemirmir for some time.
In the death of Brooks, police initially believed the woman passed from natural causes when her grandson discovered her deceased in her home in January 2018.
Some suspicion arose when family members of the victim began reporting jewelry missing. Her grandson insisted Brooks' death did not make sense because she was still active and healthy, despite her advanced age.
In March 2018, Mary Annis Bartel was assaulted inside her senior living apartment, but she managed to survive the attack.
Before her death in 2020, she explained the details of the assault in a recorded interview that was later used in Chemirmir's trial.
The 91-year-old woman said she opened her door and saw a man wearing green rubber gloves, and she immediately knew she was in "grave danger." Bartel told authorities that the man attempted to smother her with a pillow and take off with her jewelry.
Bartel's survival ultimately led to Chemirmir's arrest. Dallas law enforcement reexamined elderly deaths to assess if foul play may have been involved.
Chemirmir had reported to authorities that he supported himself by buying and selling jewelry and working as a caregiver and security guard.
According to police, Chemirmir was seen in a parking lot with jewelry and cash the day after Bartel's attack. Authorities retrieved a jewelry box he had tossed into the trash and determined that it belonged to Harris. When police arrived at her residence, they found the woman deceased in her bedroom with lipstick smeared on her pillow.
Evidence surfaced that Brooks and Chemirmir had both visited a Walmart location on the day of her death. Police uncovered surveillance video from the store, which showed a car matching the description of Chemimir's leaving the parking lot and heading in the same direction as Brooks.
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.