Billy Chemirmir, a man accused of smothering more than a dozen women living in North Texas retirement homes and robbing them of their jewelry, has been indicted on another charge of capital murder, bringing the total to 18.
On Dec. 29, 2020, a Dallas County grand jury handed down a capital murder charge in the death of 87-year-old Glenna Day who was killed Oct. 15, 2016, at The Tradition-Prestonwood, a senior living complex in Dallas.
Chemirmir has been indicted in connection with eight other deaths at that same complex, and he has been linked in lawsuits to one other. Investigators said Chemirmir posed as a maintenance worker to gain access to the women's apartments and later sold or pawned their jewelry.
In July 2019, NBC 5 spoke with the families of Juanita Purdy, Leah Corken and Glenna Day, all women who lived on the fourth floor of The Tradition-Prestonwood in Dallas who died suddenly during a three-month span in 2016. Chemirmir has been indicted in the deaths of all three women. The families filed a lawsuit then claiming the senior living community failed when it came to security and repeatedly allowed a serial killer to enter the property.
"You would think after the third death, there would be some flags," Cheryl Kerr, daughter of Glenna Day said in 2019. "The fourth death? How about the fifth death? The sixth one?"
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The Tradition-Prestonwood said in a statement last year that it “regards all our residents as family,” and that it relied on Dallas police investigators and the Dallas County medical examiner who initially ruled the deaths as natural causes.
“Those rulings stood for more than 27 months,” the statement said. “The Tradition-Prestonwood has cooperated with all the authorities and will continue to do so.”
Many of the deaths now attributed to Chemirmir were initially listed as natural causes with the deaths often not investigated because there was no suspicion of foul play.
However, after a woman who lived at Preston Place in Plano survived an attack in March 2018, Chemirmir was identified as a suspect and arrested. Information from that investigation ultimately led to detectives investigating him for multiple deaths as they began reviewing hundreds of natural death cases to identify any other potential victims.
As of this writing, Chemirmir was still being held in the Dallas County Jail with bail set at $11.6 million. That amount may be raised with the additional indictments. A Kenyan immigrant, Chemirmir also has an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold as he is in the country illegally.
To date, Chemirmir has been indicted on 18 capital murder charges for the deaths of Leah Corken, 83, Juanita Purdy, 82, Mary Brooks, 88, Minnie Campbell, 84, Ann Conklin, 82, Rosemary Curtis, 75, Norma French, 85, Doris Gleason, 92, Lu Thi Harris, 81, Carolyn MacPhee, 81, Miriam Nelson, 81, Phyllis Payne, 91, Phoebe Perry, 94, Martha Williams, 80, Joyce Abramowitz, 82, Margaret White, 86, Doris Wasserman, 90 and Glenna Day, 87.
A capital murder charge in Texas carries one of two punishments, either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. In 2019, the office of Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot filed paperwork indicating they intended to seek the death penalty in the case of Lu Thi Harris, who died March 20, 2018.
In the past, Chemirmir's attorney has told NBC 5 his client maintains he's innocent of the charges.
In December 2019, state Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, filed HB 723, which would require officials to notify next of kin when a death certificate is amended. At least one family member told The Dallas Morning News she had no idea authorities suspected her mother was murdered and that her death certificate was amended to "undetermined" until a list of potential victims was made public.