Texas prisoner Billy Chemirmir, who was convicted of killing two women and accused of murdering many more, has been killed by his cellmate this week while serving a life sentence, prison officials confirmed.
Chemirmir, 50, was found guilty last year of killing two women. He was caught after a 91-year-old woman, Mary Bartel, survived an attack in 2018 and told police that 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.
He was found dead in his jail cell at a Texas state prison Tuesday morning, a spokesperson with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed.
Authorities confirmed he was killed by his cellmate, who was also serving a murder sentence, but officials did not name the cellmate, nor the cause of Chemirmir’s death. Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018 following the attack on Bartel. The following day, police tracked him to a nearby apartment where they found him holding jewelry and cash.
Documents in a large red jewelry box that he had just thrown away, police say, led them to a Dallas home, where they found 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris dead with lipstick smeared on her pillow.
At his April 2022 trial, he was found guilty of capital murder of Harris. A separate trial, in October of last year, found him guilty of murdering 87-year-old Mary Brooks in 2018.
After securing two convictions, prosecutors in Dallas dropped the additional charges and opted not to seek the death penalty. In all, he was accused of killing an additional 20 women over the years.
Chemirmir, who was a citizen of Kenya, worked as a home health-care aide in several cities in north Texas before being accused of murdering his vulnerable patients and stealing their valuables.
Authorities believe his killing spree began in 2016, where he was linked to the deaths of three seniors living in a luxury senior living community in Dallas. Between 2016 and 2018, police say, he began stalking and killing women at another senior living facility in Dallas, where he was eventually linked to nine deaths.
Most of the deaths were initially ruled by natural causes, despite reports of odd circumstances and stolen jewelry. It wasn’t until Bartel reported her attack that cases were reopened and indictments filed.
“I won’t be mourning the murder of convicted serial killer Billy Chemirmir. Rather, my thoughts today are with the families of the precious ladies he murdered,” Collin County Criminal District Attorney Greg Willis said in a statement Tuesday. “These families have been through more than we can imagine, and I pray that someday they can find peace.”
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“This was jailhouse justice,” Dan Probst told reporters during a press conference Tuesday organized by the families of some of Chemirmir’s victims. His aunt, Catherine Sinclair, was the first alleged victim,
“As far as Chemirmir is concerned, he is over and done with.”
“My mother died in fear. This man did not have a peaceful passing. There’s some relief in feeling that he didn’t get off easily,” Shannon Dion, whose 92-year-old mother, Doris Gleason, was among those Chemirmir was charged with killing, said.
“I’m still processing,” said Dion. “It’s shocking but there is relief that this part of my nightmare, our nightmare, is over.”
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