New trial set for man charged with killing 18 in Dallas area

Posted at 7:43 PM, January 11, 2022 and last updated 3:10 PM, July 26, 2023

DALLAS (AP) — A man charged with killing 18 older women in the Dallas area over a two-year span is set to be retried in April after the first jury to hear a murder case against him deadlocked.

The retrial of Billy Chemirmir, 49, in the death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris is scheduled to begin on April 25, according to court records.

Defendant Billy Chemirmir listens to motions and language being discussed and sent to the jury after one juror is hanging up the deliberations in his capital murder trial at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Chemirmir, 48, faces life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder for smothering Lu Thi Harris, 81, and stealing her jewelry. He is accused of killing at least 18 women in Dallas and Collin counties. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

His capital murder trial in Harris’ killing ended in a mistrial in November after jurors said they were deadlocked 11-1. It was not clear what verdict the majority of jurors supported.

Following the mistrial, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said he was committed to retrying the case and bringing another one against Chemirmir.

Defense attorney Kobby Warren said after the trial that Chemirmir maintains his innocence, and that the case against him “was all circumstantial.”

Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018 after 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel said a man forced his way into her apartment at an independent living community for seniors in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

When police tracked Chemirmir to his nearby apartment following the attack on Bartel, he was holding jewelry and cash. Documents in a large red jewelry box police say he had just thrown away led them to a Dallas home where Harris was found dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.

After his arrest, authorities announced they’d begin reviewing hundreds of deaths, signaling the possibility that a serial killer had been stalking older people. Over the following years, the number of people Chemirmir was accused of killing grew.