Trial Date Set for Alleged Texas Serial Killer Billy Chemirmir
I'm a bit of a true crime junkie, but I only recently learned of Billy Chemirmir, even though he allegedly killed 18 people before 2018. Sadly, it may be because he allegedly preyed on a segment of society that's typically overlooked and easily forgotten: the elderly.
(Yes, I'm being careful to be clear with 'allegedly,' because Chemirmir has yet to go to trial.)
After a delay, Chemirmir's trial has been set to begin on November 12th in Dallas County, the same county that some of the alleged murders took place. I would have sought a venue change if it was me, but I'm no lawyer --or serial killer, for that matter. Chemirmir has been in jail since his 2018 arrest.
Many of the victims were thought to have died of natural causes, but after taking a deeper look, it appears that 17 women and 1 man were smothered to death. The thought that an elderly person's homicide death could be overlooked so easily sends chills down my spine. Would a murderer of the elderly be able to get away with it if they stopped before 18 people?
If TV and movies are right, serial killers always have a motive that's either 1) sexual, or 2) arty (or something?), or 3) the response to some sort of trauma. I'm afraid the motive in these cases may be way more pedestrian than that. It appears that they were all murdered so as to be more easily robbed of their jewelry and other valuables.
Again, how were these smothering deaths nearly missed? According to CBS DFW:
Elderly women and one man ranging in age from 75 to 94 years old living alone in homes or in senior centers.
They were all suffocated and robbed of valuables until Billy Chemirmir was arrested in 2018.
Most of the deaths were believed to natural causes until authorities used technology to place Chemirmir at the scene of them.
Originally, prosecutors were going to seek the death penalty, but have since declined to do so, possibly due to the extreme expense of pursuing the death penalty for an African-born suspect. But that's speculation, albeit educated. From CBS DFW:
Criminal Law Attorney Toby Shook says the decision probably had to do with the costs involved in pursuing the death penalty against the Kenyan born suspect.
“Defense attorneys would file for motions to have an investigator and themselves interview people in Africa, retrieve records in Africa and that would eventually get very very expensive,” said Shook. “You ask for lots of money to go to Africa and then if you find mitigation evidence how do you get those witnesses back over to the United States to testify?”
Family members of the victims are pushing for more laws to protect the elderly in independent living facilities. The laws seem very common sense to me, and are "budget-neutral." From WFAA:
The bills include requiring facilities to report all crimes on their property and perform enhanced background checks on employees. Another bill would force Cash for Gold stores to keep records of who they do business with.
Honestly, I'm shocked that Cash for Gold places don't have to do that already.
Billy Chemirmir has been previously arrested for drunk driving and domestic assault.
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