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Relatives refuse to mourn Kenyan son who died in US prison

Since he was indicted for the murder of 22 elderly women in the United States of America (USA), relatives and neighbours of Billy Chemirmir in Kabonyony village, Eldama Ravine, have been tight-lipped about his life. And this week when Chemirmir was killed by a cellmate in the USA, no one was willing to freely speak about him.Villagers in Kabonyony went about their daily routines, with little or no care at all about the death of their son.

“We heard about the news but not many knew him here.” said a resident, who just like many in the area, was not keen to discuss Chemirmir’s fate.According to the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday Hannah Haney, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Chemirmir was found dead in his cell at the Coffield unit near Tennessee Colony, about 85 miles southeast of Dallas.

Haney as per the report said Chemirmir’s cellmate, who is serving a sentence for murder out of Harris County, was the attacker. The unnamed cellmate is said to have started attacking Chemirmir after he made inappropriate comments, sexual in nature, about his (cellmate’s) children. Chemirmir reportedly was pronounced dead at around 6 a.m.Dallas Morning News reported that Chemirmir’s attorney Phillip Hayes said the news of his client’s death was shocking, adding that he had spoken to Chemirmir’s family, who were “obviously very upset.

Chemirmir was accused of killing elderly women and faced 22 capital murder charges. He was convicted by Dallas County Court in 2022 and was sentenced to two life imprisonment without a possibility of parole. The Dallas County jury in April 2022 convicted Chemirmir of the murder of Lu Thi Harris. Judge Raquel ‘Rocky’ Jones, sentenced Chemirmir to life in prison. Chemirmir from Eldama Ravine in Baringo County allegedly while posing as an employee at a retirement community in Dallas would smother victims with a pillow before stealing jewelry, cash, and other valuables.

He allegedly killed Lu Thi Harris on March 20, 2018. A jewelry box and a set of keys linked him to the murder. News of his arrest broke out in March 2018. US channel Fox4 indicated that the man was being accused of smothering 81-year-old Dallas woman Lu Thi Harris. According to Fox4 Television Station, a break in the case came when Billy reportedly forced his way into an apartment of a 91-year-old woman, telling her to “go to bed. Don’t fight me,” according to an arrest affidavit filed in Collin County. The woman was smothered with a pillow into unconsciousness and robbed. However, healthcare workers revived her and she told investigators that her attacker had stolen her box of jewellery.The police identified Billy from a car number plate and were able to find and follow him days later when they watched him throw a jewelry box into a dustbin. They traced the box to Harris, according to the affidavit.

Life in prison

In November 2021, the trial of Chemirmir commenced at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas. Judge Raquel ‘Rocky’ Jones declared a mistrial after a deadlock but prosecutors vowed to retry Chemirmir. A retrial date was set for April 25, 2022, leading to the conviction of Chemirmir on Friday.

During the hearing, the court heard that police recovered several items, including keys, bags of jewelry, and a Kenyan passport from the suspect’s car. Chemirmir said he earned a living through the sale and buying of jewelry. He also said he once worked as a caregiver for the elderly. According to the police, Chemirmir was found throwing some items in a garbage bin on the evening of that day. Chemirmir in November 2021 told the trial court that his culture does not allow killing.  In the video recording played in court before Judge Raquel ‘Rocky’ Jones, Chemirmir appears shocked when informed he is going to jail for murder. The video was recorded in March 2018 after his arrest.Close family members have been reluctant to speak to us about his childhood and life in general before he left for the USA in 2003.

Those who reluctantly volunteered information did not want to be named. A relative and a neighbor, who claimed to have been close to Billy opened up to us about what they knew about him but strictly requested to remain anonymous. News that he was a serial killer has continued to puzzle everyone who knew him before he left the country for ‘greener pastures’ in the USA.

“Billy was a man of few words who believed in the phrase, one word is enough for a wise man. He would love and hate in equal measure,” he said.He was generous to a fault, and the relative remembers an incident where he removed his pair of shoes to help a friend who was going to school barefoot. “That was the kind of Billy we knew. This incident in the USA has shocked many of us because when he was in Kenya he never committed any crime. His record was clean. Those of us who interacted and knew him well find it hard to believe,” said a relative.

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