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Prosecution lines up key witnesses as murder trial of Kenyan in US starts

By Julius Chepkwony | November 16th 2021
Bill Kipkorir Chemirmir, a Kenyan man facing 17 murder charges in the US. [Courtesy]

The trial of a Kenyan accused of killing the elderly in the US started on Monday at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas.

The prosecution led by prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin told jurors that the case against Billy Chemirmir was about stalking, smothering and stealing.

Chemirmir is facing 18 counts of capital murder. On Monday, the trial for the murder of Lu Thi Harris, 81, started before Judge Raquel ‘Rocky’ Jones. According to the prosecutor, Chemirmir, on March 20, 2018, in the county of Dallas State of Texas, illegally and unlawfully caused the death of Lu Thi Harris by smothering her with a pillow. He is also accused of stealing.

Chemirmir appeared in court donned in a black suit, striped tie, glasses and a mask. Once in a while, he would scribble notes as the prosecution presented its case.

For close to eight hours, WFAA Channel 8 streamed the proceedings live. At some point, the court took breaks.

“This a case of stalking, smothering and stealing. I will tell you about it, and you (jurors) will hear where we are heading in the next four days,” said prosecutor Fitzmartin.

The prosecutor told the defence that it would have a difficult task in defending the case. Fitzmartin said they would have to prove to the court that Chemirmir caused the death of Lu Thi Harris by smothering her. He said the prosecution would be presenting three facts in the case.

The prosecution said Chemirmir and Lu Thi Harris, on March 20, 2018, at around 3:27 pm are captured by a CCTV camera at Walmart. “They walk out together. He followers her. At 5:50 pm, police arrest him while he was throwing some items belonging to Harris,” Fitzmartin said.

He said two different doctors would present evidence in court to prove that Harris was smothered. Fitzmartin told the court that the day before Harris met her death, Chemirmir had allegedly attempted to kill Mary Bartel, 91.

The court heard that on March 19, Chemirmir went to Bartel’s apartment in Plano and ordered her to go back to her bedroom. He then put a pillow on her face and tried to smother her, but she survived. Though she passed on later, her pre-recorded video testimony was played in court.

“On March 19, Chemirmir is selling a unique ring to some individuals that came from the hand of Bartel. We will follow that investigation throughout that day leading to the arrest of Chemirmir and the recovery of Mrs Harris property,” said the prosecutor.

He said they got to Mrs Harris house and found her dead. Witnesses Karen (Plano 911 Dispatcher), Steven Tuck (firefighter and paramedic), Officer Jamaal Kemp (Plano Police Department) and others appeared before Judge Raquel.

Tuck told the court that Bartel was unconscious when they arrived at her home. The firefighter said they found Bartel lying in an unusual position. And when she regained consciousness, she told them how a man tried to smother her.  

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