Man charged with killing 22 Texas women gets 2nd conviction

Oct 6, 2022, 10:03 PM | Updated: Oct 7, 2022, 5:02 pm
Karen Harris, right, daughter of victim Miriam Nelson, reacts as she embraces her husband Cliff Har...

Karen Harris, right, daughter of victim Miriam Nelson, reacts as she embraces her husband Cliff Harris after Billy Chemirmir was found guilty of killing 87-year-old Mary Brooks by the members of the jury during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. Jurors deliberated less than 30 minutes. . (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

(Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

              Karen Harris, right, daughter of victim Miriam Nelson, reacts as she embraces her husband Cliff Harris after Billy Chemirmir was found guilty of killing 87-year-old Mary Brooks by the members of the jury during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. Jurors deliberated less than 30 minutes. . (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Defense lawyer Kobby Warren points towards the photographs of the victims as delivers his closing statement during the final day of the third trial of Billy Chemirmir at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin delivers his closing statement as picture of victim Mary Bartel displays on the screen during the final day of the third trial of Billy Chemirmir at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Karen Harris, center, daughter of victim Miriam Nelson, embraces district attorney John Creuzot as her husband Cliff Harris, left, reacts, after Billy Chemirmir was found guilty during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Anne Brooks, second from left, oldest daughter of victim Mary Brooks reacts while speaking to district attorney John Creuzot, right, after Billy Chemirmir was found guilty of killing 87-year-old Mary Brooks by the members of the jury during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. Jurors deliberated less than 30 minutes. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Defendant Billy Chemirmir enters the courtroom during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Karen Harris, right, daughter of victim Miriam Nelson, reacts as she embraces her husband Cliff Harris after Billy Chemirmir was found guilty of killing 87-year-old Mary Brooks by the members of the jury during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. Jurors deliberated less than 30 minutes. . (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Defense lawyer Kobby Warren points towards the photographs of the victims as delivers his closing statement during the final day of the third trial of Billy Chemirmir at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin delivers his closing statement as picture of victim Mary Bartel displays on the screen during the final day of the third trial of Billy Chemirmir at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Karen Harris, center, daughter of victim Miriam Nelson, embraces district attorney John Creuzot as her husband Cliff Harris, left, reacts, after Billy Chemirmir was found guilty during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Anne Brooks, second from left, oldest daughter of victim Mary Brooks reacts while speaking to district attorney John Creuzot, right, after Billy Chemirmir was found guilty of killing 87-year-old Mary Brooks by the members of the jury during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. Jurors deliberated less than 30 minutes. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Defendant Billy Chemirmir enters the courtroom during the final day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Billy Chemirmir enters the courtroom during his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Gilad Nissanov of the Diamond & Gold Exchange watches a state exhibit where Billy Chemirmir was seen waiting at Nissanov's shop, during the fourth day of Chemirmir's third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              From top photographs of victims Mary Brooks, Martha Williams, Mary Bartel and Lu Thi Harris hang on the door during the third court trial of  Billy Chemirmir at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Billy Chemirmir, left, stands beside his defense lawyer Phillip Hayes ahead of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.  Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Billy Chemirmir enters the courtroom during his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin shows a pillow containing blood stain of victim Martha William to the members of the jury during the fourth day of accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir's third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Cheryl Pangburn, front, daughter of alleged victim Marilyn Bixler, embraces Anne Brooks, oldest daughter of alleged victim Mary Brooks during a recess on the fourth day of the trial of accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Cheryl Pangburn, back left, daughter of alleged victim Marilyn Bixler, talks to Lori Delahunty, right, daughter of alleged victim Diane Delahunty during a recess on the fourth day of the trial of accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              FBI agent Mark Sedwick testifies about the historical cell site analysis past prosecutor Dimitri Anagnostis did during the fourth day of accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir's third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is accused of killing 22 elderly women in the Dallas area and stealing jewelry and valuables. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Shanon Dion, back, daughter of alleged victim Doris Gleason, embraces Cheryl Pangburn, daughter of alleged victim Marilyn Bixler during a recess on the fourth day of the trial of accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir, 49, is charged with capital murder of 22 elderly people in North Texas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
            
              Accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir enters during the fourth day of his third court trial at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Chemirmir is accused of killing 22 elderly women in the Dallas area and stealing jewelry and valuables. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

DALLAS (AP) — A man charged with killing 22 elderly women in the Dallas area over a two-year span was found guilty Friday in one of their deaths — his second murder conviction.

With the verdict, Billy Chemirmir, 49, automatically received a second sentence of life without parole, this time for the smothering death of 87-year-old Mary Brooks. Jurors took less than 30 minutes to reach the verdict against Chemirmir, who was already sentenced to life in prison without parole for an April conviction in the death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris.

Authorities allege that he preyed on older women, killing them and stealing their valuables. Time after time, their deaths were initially determined to be from natural causes, even as family members raised alarm bells about missing jewelry.

“This is a conscious, dedicated effort to stalk, surveil, kill, steal, strip and sell,” Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said in closing arguments.

Creuzot decided against seeking the death penalty. After Friday’s verdict he said the two sentences mean Chemirmir is “going to die in a penitentiary.”

Creuzot said the 11 additional capital murder cases against Chemirmir in Dallas County will now be dismissed. Prosecutors in neighboring Collin County haven’t yet said if they will try any of their nine capital murder cases against Chemirmir, who has maintained his innocence.

Prosecutors told jurors that the evidence showed that Chemirmir followed Brooks home from Walmart, smothered her and took her jewelry.

One woman’s survival of a March 2018 attack set Chemirmir’s arrest in motion. Mary Annis Bartel, then-91, told police a man forced his way into her apartment at an independent living community for seniors, tried to smother her with a pillow and took her jewelry.

After Chemirmir’s arrest, police across the Dallas area reexamined deaths and the charges against him grew. Many of the victims’ children have said they were left perplexed by the deaths at the time, as their mothers, though older, were still healthy and active. Four indictments were added this summer.

Most lived in apartments at independent living communities for older people. One woman who lived in a private home was the widow of a man Chemirmir cared for while working as an at-home caregiver.

Defense attorneys told the jury that prosecutors hadn’t presented enough evidence to convict.

“They are begging that you plug in the holes that they cannot,” defense attorney Phillip Hayes said in his closing argument.

After the verdict, he told reporters that he plans to appeal.

While jurors this week were deciding Chemirmir’s guilt only in Brooks’ death, they also heard evidence that led to his conviction in Harris’ death as well as details related to the death of 80-year-old Martha Williams. Prosecutors for the first time presented DNA evidence linking Chemirmir to one of the deaths — Williams’.

The jury also heard testimony that Chemirmir was in either in possession of jewelry and valuables belonging to the women or had offered pieces for sale and that cellphone records put him in the vicinity of the victims.

Before Bartel died in 2020, she described the attack in a taped interview that has been played at Chemirmir’s trials. She said the minute she opened her door and saw a man wearing rubber gloves, she knew she was in “grave danger.”

Police testified they found Chemirmir the next day in the parking lot of his apartment complex holding jewelry and cash, having just thrown away a large red jewelry box. Documents in the jewelry box led them to the home of Harris, who was found dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.

Evidence presented at trial showed that just hours before Harris was found dead, Chemirmir was at the Walmart where Harris was shopping.

When Brooks’ grandson had found her dead in her condo several weeks earlier, grocery bags from a trip to the same Walmart were sitting out on her counter. Surveillance video showed a car matching the description of Chemirmir’s pulling out just after Brooks and going in the same direction.

Brooks’ daughter, Ann Brooks, said after the verdict that her family was “thrilled that this defendant will never be able to hurt any other family again.”

“Our beloved mother, Mary Sue, her life is over and her jewelry is gone, but her love and her memories will live in us forever,” she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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