A home health aide has been accused of killing an 81-year-old woman in Texas and is now suspected in the deaths of 11 other elderly women by smothering them with a pillow before robbing them. Court records show that the 46-year-old accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir was indicted on Tuesday, May 14, on five additional counts of capital murder in Collin County and six counts in Dallas County.
The Dallas Morning News reports that authorities believe Chemirmir killed the women, who are all in their 80s and 90s, in crimes that date back to May 2016. The man, a Kenyan native who moved to the United States in 2003, has been in prison since March 2018 in connection with the death of Lu Thi Harris, a North Dallas woman who was found suffocated in her bed.
Police in Plano were investigating Chemirmir in connection with a suspicious death and suspicious person calls at a senior apartment complex in that Dallas suburb and found evidence linking him to Harris' death in Dallas, authorities said. Plano is in Collin County.
The break in the case came when Chemirmir forced his way into the Plano apartment of a 91-year-old woman that March, telling her to "go to bed. Don't fight me," according to an arrest affidavit filed in Collin County. The woman was smothered with a pillow until she became unconsciousness and was robbed. However, paramedics revived her and she told investigators that her attacker had stolen a box containing her jewelry.
Police identified Chemirmir from a license plate number and were able to find and tail him days later when they watched him throw a jewelry box into a trash bin. They traced the box to Harris, according to the affidavit.
Plano police Chief Gregory Rushin said at the time that Chemirmir used his health care experience "to his advantage in targeting and exploiting seniors, some of the most vulnerable people in our community."
Police said then that investigators were reviewing about 750 unattended deaths of elderly women for possible links. Chemirmir's attorney, Phillip Hayes, said on Thursday, May 16, that this week's charges were a surprise and that he hadn't had time to review them yet. "These cases came out of the blue and I don't have any information on them yet," he said.
But he noted that Chemirmir "has denied it since Day 1" that he played any role in Harris' death. "They have circumstantial evidence that puts him in the area but that's as far as the evidence goes," Hayes said. In addition to the murder charges, Chemirmir is being held on a charge of being in the country illegally.
With AP inputs.
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