The retrial of a man accused of killing 18 older women in the Dallas area in a two-year span is scheduled to begin Monday (April 25) after the first jury who heard the case ended up deadlocked in a decision.
Forty-nine-year-old Billy Chemirmir faces capital murder charges in the deaths of 18 women ––13 of whom were killed in Dallas County and five in Collin County, according to ABC News. Chemirmir is currently facing life in prison without the possibility of parole if he's found guilty of killing 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. Prosecutors trying the case say Chemirmir followed Harris home from Walmart and smothered her before stealing her jewelry and cash.
Chemirmir has maintained his innocence in the killings. He currently is only standing trial for Harris' death, but Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot revealed there are plans to try Chemirmir for at least one other death but has not stated which victim.
The second trial is set to begin this week after an original trial ended with a deadlocked jury in November 2021. Authorities arrested Chemirmir in March 2018 after 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel reported that a man forced his way into her apartment unit located inside an assisted living facility for older adults. Bartel survived the attack and reported having jewelry missing.
Police tracked Chemirmir to his nearby apartment where officers said they found him holding money and cash. A video recording played during the original trial showed Chemirmir explaining to police that he made a living by buying and selling jewelry and previously worked as a caregiver and security guard.
Defense attorneys argued during the first trial that all of the evidence presented was circumstantial and that prosecutors hadn't proved their client's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This time around, former Dallas County prosecutor Toby Shook said prosecutors might "change up their preparation or presentation of some of their witnesses in order to make their case clearer to the jury."
"It was surprising that a hung jury resulted in that the state had the advantage of putting several offenses for the jury to consider and that's a powerful weapon the state has in a case like this," Shook, who isn't involved in the case, told ABC News.
Reading about trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.