Deliberations to Continue Friday in Accused Serial Killer Billy Chemirmir's Murder Trial

Chermirmir, 48, is being tried in Dallas for the death of one of the 18 people he's accused of killing -- 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder

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Continuing Coverage: Watch full coverage of the capital murder trial of Billy Chemirmir all week on NBC 5 and the live stream from inside the courtroom in the video player above and on NBC 5's AppleTV, Roku, and Fire TV streaming platforms.

From time to time the camera may be directed at a court seal or stationary object if the court is in recess or if graphic evidence is being displayed.

What to Know

  • Billy Chemirmir is accused of killing 18 older women, smothering them with a pillow, and stealing their jewelry.
  • The trial this week is is related to the death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris, who was found deceased in her bedroom in March 2018 with lipstick smeared on her pillow.
  • Following Chemirmir's arrest in 2018, authorities were said to be reviewing hundreds of deaths.

With closing arguments completed Thursday afternoon, the fate of Billy Chemirmir, the man charged with killing 18 North Texas women, is now in the hands of a Dallas County jury. The jury deliberated on Thursday, but then decided to rest for the night and resume deliberations on Friday morning.

The jury in the murder trial of suspected serial killer Billy Chemirmir started deliberations Thursday afternoon. It came after Chemirmir’s defense team offered very little, just arguing there is doubt in the prosecution’s case.

Chemirmir, 48, faces life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder in the death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. His attorney entered a not guilty plea for him on Monday when the trial got underway.

The state rested their case Thursday afternoon after four days of testimony. Chemirmir declined to take the stand in his own defense and his attorneys rested their case without calling any witnesses.

Closing arguments were presented Thursday afternoon and the case was handed to the jury for deliberations at about 3:45 p.m.

It's not clear how long the jury will take to decide Chemirmir's fate. The verdict will be carried live in the video player at the top of this page.

Check back and refresh this page for the latest updates from Day 4. NBC 5 reporter Katy Blakey is live-tweeting the latest developments from the trial.

Day 4 Testimony

Thursday's testimony began with a jewelry broker from Diamond & Gold Exchange who testified he bought $91,000 worth of jewelry from Billy Chemirmir between 2015 and 2018. Prosecutors said that jewelry was stolen.

An FBI agent who specializes in analyzing cell phone data testified that he could place Chemirmir's phone to victims' homes and then at jewelry exchange shops within minutes.

FBi testifies in Billy Chemirmir trial
NBC 5 News
An FBI testifies in the Billy Chemirmir trial, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021.

Dan Probst, whose aunt Catherine Probst Sinclair died at Edgemere senior living community in Dallas, said that testimony hit families hard.

"It's like he went to the bank," Probst said. "Took somebody's life and then cashed it in."

Billy Chemirmir Murder Trial - Day 3

Jurors on Wednesday heard about the death of a woman Chemirmir is charged with killing.

In an interview taped less than an hour before his arrest, Chemirmir told a police detective that a man whose name he didn’t know had sold him jewelry. A relative earlier testified that the jewelry belonged to a woman Billy Chemirmir is accused of slaying.

“It just doesn’t make any sense, what you’re telling me,” Dallas Detective Brian Tabor told Chemirmir during the interview.

In the interview with Tabor, who has since retired from the force, Chemirmir repeatedly denied killing Harris or going to her home.

“I’ve never murdered anybody,” Chemirmir told the detective.

Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018 after 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel survived an attack at her apartment at an independent living community for seniors in Plano.

When police tracked Chemirmir to his nearby apartment the next day, he was holding jewelry and cash. Documents in a large red jewelry box police say he had just thrown away led them to a Dallas home, where Harris was dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.

Chemirmir told Tabor he made money by buying and selling jewelry and had also worked as an at-home caregiver and as a security guard.

Chemirmir said he typically bought jewelry online, but that he purchased the jewelry he had when he was arrested in person from a man who told him he had a batch of jewelry for Chemirmir to look at.

“He came to my apartment, 20 minutes before I was arrested,” Chemirmir said.

Chemirmir said he got what he wanted from the jewelry box and then threw the box away because he didn’t want it.

When Tabor asks the man’s name, Chemirmir replies: “He didn’t tell me.”

Harris’ son-in-law, Richard Rinehart, testified Tuesday that the discarded jewelry box belonged to his mother-in-law, as did numerous pieces of jewelry that officers found as they arrested Chemirmir.

Tabor testified in court Wednesday that Chemirmir “struggled for the details of who he met, how much he paid for the jewelry box.”

Jurors also saw surveillance video from a Walmart showing that Harris and Chemirmir were at the store at the same time, just hours before she was found dead. Chemirmir told the detective that he had been at the Walmart.

Evidence presented at trial has shown that Chemirmir was also in possession of numerous $2 bills at the time. Rinehart testified Tuesday that his mother-in-law loved giving them as gifts. Chemirmir said on the tape that he had bought the $2 bills in Fort Worth a few days earlier.

Police have also said that a set of keys found with Chemirmir when he was arrested opened the front doors of Harris’ home.

Following Chemirmir’s arrest, authorities announced they would review hundreds of deaths, signaling the possibility that a serial killer had been stalking older people. Over the following years, the number of people Chemirmir was accused of killing grew.

Most of the victims were killed at independent living communities for older people, where Chemirmir allegedly forced his way into apartments or posed as a handyman. He’s also accused of killing women in private homes, including the widow of a man he had cared for in his job as an at-home caregiver.

The defense did not make an opening statement. Chemirmir’s attorney says the evidence against Chemirmir is circumstantial.

Copyright NBC 5 News and The Associated Press
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