Sep 19, 2023 - News

Convicted murderer Billy Chemirmir killed while serving prison sentence

Billy Chemirmir during a courthouse proceeding.

Chemirmir was serving a life sentence in a Texas prison. Screenshot: WFAA

Billy Chemirmir, a convicted murderer serving two life sentences in a Texas prison, was killed by his cellmate on Tuesday, authorities say.

The big picture: Dallas and Collin county prosecutors initially planned to seek the death penalty for Chemirmir. Instead, Chemirmir was tried twice in Dallas and received two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

  • The Collin County district attorney announced last month he would not seek capital punishment for Chemirmir because "he will never be a free man again."

Context: Chemirmir was convicted in the deaths of 87-year-old Mary Brooks and 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris and was accused of killing nearly two dozen people.

  • Authorities said he targeted the elderly in his killings, stole their jewelry, and then sold it.
  • At one point, Chemirmir faced 22 capital murder charges. He was convicted in 2018 in two of those killings.

Between the lines: The slayings of elderly women in high-end independent living communities, including The Tradition-Prestonwood, went unnoticed for nearly two years until Chemirmir's arrest in March 2018. The causes of death were initially classified as natural.

  • The cases inspired Marilyn's Law, which requires medical examiners to alert the next of kin when a cause of death is changed on a death certificate.

Details: Chemirmir arrived at the Coffield unit near Palestine in May 2022 to start serving his life sentences.

  • The 50-year-old was found dead in his cell early Tuesday.
  • The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in an email that his cellmate, who was serving a sentence for a Harris County murder, was the "assailant." The cellmate hasn't been publicly identified.

What's next: The inspector general's office is investigating the death. The cause of death hasn't been released yet.


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