A man who allegedly murdered and burglarized 18 elderly women over a two-year period in the Dallas, Texas, area began trial on Monday, the Associated Press reported.
Billy Chemirmir, 48, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if he’s convicted of murdering Lu Thi Harris, 81, according to the AP. Chemirmir pleaded not guilty and prosecutors didn’t pursue the death penalty for the charge.
“This is a case about stalking, smothering and stealing,” prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin said at the beginning of the trial, the AP reported.
Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018 after allegedly attacking and robbing a 91-year-old woman at a senior living community in Plano, Texas, according to the AP.
Mary Bartel, 91, said Chemirmir told her not to fight him as he allegedly attempted to suffocate her with a pillow, the AP reported. Bartel died around two years later and jurors were able to hear her previously recorded deposition.
Officials launched an investigation into hundreds of deaths to determine whether a serial killer was stalking elderly people, according to the AP. Chemirmir was accused of killing several other elderly women in the years following the investigation, according to the AP.
Law enforcement officials said they found Chemirmir at his apartment with jewelry and money, according to the AP. Police allegedly found a jewelry box Chemirmir had discarded that led them to a residence in Dallas where Harris’ body was found.
Fitzmartin said Chemirmir and Harris checked out simultaneously at a Walmart the day she died, the AP reported. Chemirmir was charged with homicide in the January 2018 death of Mary Brooks, 87, after she visited the same Walmart Harris did.
A vehicle resembling Chemirmir’s was reportedly parked next to Brooks’, according to the AP.
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