Date Set In Retrial of Suspected Serial Killer Billy Chemirmir

Tom Fox, The Dallas Morning News

A date has been set in the retrial of suspected serial killer Billy Chemirmir.

Court documents show Chemirmir is set to be retried for capital murder in the death Lu Harris, 81, on April 25.

Charged with killing at least 18 older women across North Texas, the first trial ended with the jury deadlocked 11-to-1 last November. The judge declared a mistrial after jurors said they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Glen Fitzmartin sent a note to families of the alleged victims last week informing them of the new trial date.

In the message, Fitzmartin stressed the court remains under the same COVID-19 protocols as they were during the initial trial in November due to the spike in the omicron variant, but said he hoped some of the restrictions may be relaxed by April if conditions improve.

Families of loved ones were kept out of the courtroom during the November trial to allow for social distancing in the courtroom, something the families felt affected the court proceedings.

“It was the wrong thing to do,” said Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer Cliff Harris back in November.

Harris lost his mother-in-law Miriam Nelson.

“We would have had a much better chance,” Harris said. “We would have won this hands down.”

Chemirmir faces life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder. He remains in the Dallas County jail on a multi-million dollar bond. He's repeatedly denied all charges against him and says he's innocent.

The April trial will again focus on the murder of Harris, who was found dead in her Far North Dallas home in March 2018. Prosecutors have long said it's the case where they felt they had the strongest evidence.

Detectives were led to Harris’ home after arresting Chemirmir for the attack on 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel the day before at Plano’s Preston Place Retirement Community.

When police tracked Chemirmir to his nearby apartment, items uncovered in their search led to Harris’ home where she was found dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.

Chemirmir is charged with killing 18 older women across Dallas and Collin counties, though police investigations and lawsuits allege he’s killed even more people. Prosecutors say he targeted independent living communities, smothering his victims to steal jewelry.

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