Billy Chemirmir, the home health aide accused in the homicides of 22 North Texas seniors, was himself killed in prison on Tuesday morning. He was 50 when he died at the hands of his cellmate.
Chemirmir had targeted older women in homicides and was ultimately convicted in two smothering deaths.
In April 2022, a Dallas County jury found him guilty in the murder of Lu Thi Harris, 81, for which he received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Then in October, he was convicted of slaying 87-year-old Mary Brooks — another life sentence sans parole.
The convicted killer would spend the rest of his days in the Coffield unit in Tennessee Colony, a roughly 104-mile drive southeast of Dallas.
Chemirmir was indicted on 13 capital murder charges in Dallas County and nine more capital murder charges in Collin County. The latter county’s district attorney revealed in August that he’d decided against pursuing the death penalty.
The cellmate who is believed to have killed Chemirmir had been serving time for murder out of Harris County, Amanda Hernandez, communications director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told the Observer via email. Neither his identity nor the circumstances of Chemirmir’s death have been revealed.
Hernandez said that Chemirmir was discovered in his cell early Tuesday morning and that an investigation is being carried out by the Office of Inspector General.
Reached for comment, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot told the Observer that “obviously, things like this happen in prison.
“With somebody like him and his offenses, there may be an increased chance that something like this could happen,” Creuzot said. “I don’t know if that’s why he was killed, but I don’t really have any feelings about it one way or the other, honestly.”
“With somebody like him and his offenses, there may be an increased chance that something like this could happen.” – John Creuzot, Dallas County District Attorney
The Dallas Police Department declined the Observer’s request for comment.
Chemirmir stands accused of targeting elderly North Texans, either at their homes or in senior living centers. Prosecutors have said he would use pillows to smother his victims to death before stealing their valuables. During one trial, a merchant with a Diamond and Gold Exchange store claimed to have shelled out more than $91,000 to Chemirmir for jewelry over the span of around two years.
Initially, most of the deaths were believed to be from natural causes, but that changed after a survivor told police that Chemirmir had attacked her.
In June, Chemirmir’s name again appeared in the news after his team filed an appeal related to Harris’ killing. Attorneys argued that data cited in expert testimony regarding Chemirmir’s cellphone use had been misleading.
Creuzot reportedly planned to clinch two convictions against Chemirmir before dismissing the other 11 Dallas County cases.
He discussed his stance on the death penalty with The Dallas Morning News in a story published last September, ahead of his reelection race. Faith Johnson, his GOP opponent at the time (and a former Dallas County DA), slammed him for not seeking capital punishment in Chemirmir’s case.
But Creuzot explained to The News that multiple factors weigh into his decision over whether the death penalty should be pursued.
“Let’s be honest, these cases jump from Austin … to Washington and back and forth and back and forth,” Creuzot said. And, the way he saw it, Chemirmir was “going to die in the penitentiary.”