Suspected Serial Killer Billy Chemirmir Might Have Murdered 22 Women

"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."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 13 2024, Published 5:02 p.m. ET

On March 18, 2018, the family of 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel found her unconscious in her room at the Preston Place Retirement Community in Plano, Texas, reported NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. The mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother would later tell police that a strange man came to her door earlier that day. "Don't fight me," he said to her as he pushed his way in. He then brought Bartel into her bedroom, smothered her with a pillow, stole jewelry, and left.

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Unfortunately, Bartel is the only known survivor of a series of similar attacks. Eventually, a man by the name of Billy Chemirmir would be indicted on 22 counts of murder, all of which involved otherwise healthy elderly women who died mysteriously. He was only found guilty of two murders. Here's what we know about Billy Chemirmir's victims.

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Billy Chemirmir's victims were both over the age of 80.

Initially, police assumed Bartel had fallen until her family insisted they question her once she was physically able to speak. Once she felt better, Bartel informed law enforcement about her attack which is what kicked off the investigation into similar crimes across the north Texas region. Soon there were 22 indictments brought against Chemirmir.

In April 2022, The Dallas Morning News reported that the first guilty verdict was handed down to Chemirmir. It took the jury 45 minutes to decide that Chemirmir was the man who murdered 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. On March 20, 2018, he followed Harris home after spotting her at Walmart. The prosecution was very clear about one thing, the evidence against Chemirmir was circumstantial but when added up it was very damning and the jury agreed.

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The state established a pattern that showed Chemirmir's history of selling stolen jewelry that belonged to women whose deaths were thought to be accidental. What he actually did was smother them in their sleep using their own pillows. There was also footage of Chemirmir at Walmart at the same time Harris was shopping. When he was arrested, Chemirmir was wearing the jewelry she had on in the footage.

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Six months after Chemirmir was found guilty of murdering Harris, he received another guilty conviction. This time a Dallas jury found him guilty of the murder of 87-year-old Mary Brooks, per CBS News. Once again, police mistakenly thought Brooks had died of natural causes after she was "found dead on the floor of her Dallas condo with grocery bags from a recent shopping trip still on her countertop." When Brooks's family discovered her jewelry was missing, they suspected something more.

Based on receipts from the day she died, police realized Brooks had been to Walmart earlier. After scrubbing through surveillance footage, law enforcement caught a car matching Chemirmir's description exiting the Walmart parking lot seconds after Brooks did. He was soon given two life sentences but Chemirmir didn't end up serving them.

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Lu Thi Harris and Mary Brooks
Source: YouTube/CBS Texas; YouTube/WFAA

Where is Billy Chemirmir now?

On Sept. 19, 2023, less than a year after sentencing, Chemirmir was killed in prison, via Axios. His death report obtained by KDFW said he was "assaulted by his cellmate and sustained injuries resulting in his death." This was on the heels of a statewide lockdown of Texas prisons due to a rise in inmate murders.

Shannon Dion's 92-year-old mother was one of the many women thought to have been killed by Chemirmir. After he died, she released a statement. "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."

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