A Dallas serial killer indicted on charges of killing a dozen elderly women is actually a Kenyan citizen who has been living in the U.S. illegally.
Billy Chemirmir was charged by a Dallas County grand jury on Tuesday with six additional counts of capital murder for the deaths of women ranging in age from 76 to 94. The 46-year-old had already been under arrest for the death of an 81-year-old Dallas woman, according to Dallas County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Kim Leach., Associated Press reported.
Chemirmir was indicted on five other murder charges on Tuesday by a second grand jury in Collin County as well as being held on the additional charge of being in the country illegally. The charges last year prompted police to reexamine 750 deaths of elderly women to see if the Kenyan might be connected, according to AP.
This week’s charges, in which he reportedly smothered his elderly victims with a pillow and robbed them, were apparently a surprise to Chemirmir’s attorney who said he had not had time to review them yet.
“These cases came out of the blue and I don’t have any information on them yet,” Phillip Hayes said Thursday.
Chemirmir was arrested and charged last year for the murder of Lu Thi Harris, an 81-year-old living in Dallas. Police in Plano, which is in Collin County, found evidence linking him to her death as they were investigating him for a suspicious death at a Dallas senior apartment complex.
According to Associated Press:
The break in the case came when Chemirmir forced his way into the Plano apartment of a 91-year-old woman that March, telling her to “go to bed. Don’t fight me,” according to an arrest affidavit filed in Collin County. The woman was smothered with a pillow into unconsciousness and robbed. However, paramedics revived her and she told investigators that her attacker had stolen a box containing her jewelry. Police identified Chemirmir from a license plate number and were able to find and tail him days later, when they watched him throw a jewelry box into a trash bin. They traced the box to Harris, according to the affidavit.
At that time, Plano police Chief Gregory Rushin noted that the suspect had used his health care experience “to his advantage in targeting and exploiting seniors, some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Chemirmir reportedly worked as a nurse in Kenya, but had not been legally working in healthcare in the US., according to the Independent, which reported that court records indicate that he “posed as an employee at the Edgemere Retirement Community in Dallas under the alias ‘Benjamin Koitaba.'”
Chemirmir’s attorney this week claimed his client “has denied it since Day 1” that he was responsible in any way for Harris’ death.
“They have circumstantial evidence that puts him in the area but that’s as far as the evidence goes,” Hayes said.
The Collin County medical examiner now has five cases believed to be homicides after the re-investigation of cases in which the victims were thought to have died of natural causes, WFAA reported. Authorities even exhumed the body of one of Chemirmir’s suspected victims last week in their investigation.
Chemirmir’s bail is now set at more than $9 million.
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