The murder trial of a Kenyan man suspected of smothering elderly women in North Texas retirement homes and robbing them begins on November 12.
Billy Chemirmir, 48, from Eldama Ravine, Baringo County, has been indicted on 18 counts of capital offence while posing as an employee at a retirement community in Dallas.
According to Dallas Morning News, police records, medical examiner reports and civil suits linked Chemirmir to 24 deaths between 2016 and 2018.
Police and prosecutors, as quoted by Dallas Morning News, said the man often posed as a maintenance worker, who said he was checking for leaky pipes. And once inside their apartments, he would smother victims with a pillow before stealing jewellery, cash, and other valuables.
The first case against Chemirmir stems from an 81-year-old woman who was killed in March 2018 at her Far North Dallas home.
During the same period, Chemirmir is also accused of attempting to kill a 90-year-old woman from Plano.
“After police identified Chemirmir as a suspect in the attempted murder of a 90-year-old Plano woman, they waited at his apartment complex in Far North Dallas. When he arrived home, police saw him toss something in a dumpster before arresting him,” read a post by the Dallas Morning News.
A Plano officer then went to the dumpster and found a jewellery box. Inside the jewellery box was the name, Lu Thi Harris.
“Dallas police went to Harris’ home about five miles away. They found her body in the bedroom, and a pillow nearby smeared with lipstick,” the publication noted.
Chemirmir was charged with capital murder in Harris’ killing the next day.
Dallas Morning News reported that depending on the outcome of this first trial, Chemirmir could also be tried for the death of Mary Brooks. She was killed in January 2018 in Richardson. The prosecutors say the rest of the Dallas County cases will likely be dismissed.
A dozen jurors and two alternates were chosen on Wednesday for the capital murder trial. 14 people were chosen from a pool of 112 people to hear testimony at the Frank Crowley Courts Building near downtown Dallas, according to the publication.
Judge Raquel “Rocky” Jones, as per the publication, said she asked all potential jurors if they’d seen news stories about anyone involved in the case, including Chemirmir and the attorneys on both sides, and if they’d be able to put that information aside while considering the evidence presented.
Among the material that some potential jurors said they had read was news that Chemirmir’s defence attorney Phillip Hayes was arrested Friday on a prostitution charge in East Texas.
“Hayes declined to comment on the charge but said he didn’t think it would impact Chemirmir’s case. Jones also said she didn’t expect it to impact next week’s trial,” read a publication by the Dallas Morning News.
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The publication reported that Hayes did not participate in jury selection for Chemirmir’s trial, but other lawyers on his legal team were at the courthouse to help select the jury.
At a glance
-In Dallas County, Chemirmir is charged with 13 counts of capital murder
-In Collin County, he faces five charges of capital murder and two attempted.
-Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018
-His victims are aged between 70 and 91 years
-He was arrested after Lu Thi Harris, 81, was found dead in her Dallas Home.
- Lu Thi Harris was allegedly found dead with a pillow near her and her make-up smeared on it.