Mistrial declared in case of man charged with killing 18 women in Texas

DALLAS — A Texas choose declared a mistrial Friday within the first homicide case in opposition to a person charged with killing 18 older ladies within the Dallas space over a two-year span, however prosecutors vowed to proceed to pursue convictions.

Decide Raquel Jones issued the ruling when a jury deadlocked after deliberating since Thursday afternoon within the capital homicide case charging Billy Chemirmir with killing 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris.

Dallas County District Legal professional John Creuzot mentioned he was dedicated to retrying the case and bringing one other one in opposition to the 48-year-old. “Our dedication was to get two convictions and that doesn’t change,” Creuzot instructed The Dallas Morning Information.

In a collection of notes to the courtroom Friday, the 12 jurors mentioned they had been “hopelessly deadlocked 11 to 1” over the case. It was not clear what verdict nearly all of jurors supported. Jones initially resisted declaring a mistrial, repeatedly ordering the jury to proceed deliberation.

After the choice, household of the ladies Chemirmir is accused of killing spoke outdoors the courtroom, which they’d been prohibited from getting into through the trial as a COVID-19 precaution. They expressed frustration with the mistrial, anger with the juror they noticed as a maintain out in opposition to conviction and willpower to get a unique consequence the following time round.

“We’re devastated on the consequence of this trial,” mentioned Loren Adair-Smith, the daughter of Phyllis Payne. “We’re sickened that now we have to come back again and listen to the identical proof once more.”

Chemirmir’s attorneys rested their case with out calling any witnesses or presenting proof, and he didn’t testify. They dismissed the proof in opposition to their shopper as “amount over high quality” and asserted that prosecutors had not proved Chemirmir’s guilt past an affordable doubt.

Following the mistrial, protection legal professional Kobby Warren mentioned his shopper maintains his innocence and disputed the thought of the trial being derailed by a “rogue juror.”

“It was all circumstantial,” he mentioned of the case in opposition to Chemirmir.

Chemirmir was arrested in March 2018 after 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel mentioned a person pressured his means into her condominium at an impartial residing neighborhood for seniors within the Dallas suburb of Plano.

When police tracked Chemirmir to his close by condominium following the assault on Bartel, he was holding jewellery and money. Paperwork in a big purple jewellery field police say he had simply thrown away led them to a Dallas dwelling, the place Harris was lifeless in her bed room, lipstick smeared on her pillow.

After his arrest, authorities introduced they’d start reviewing a whole bunch of deaths, signaling the likelihood {that a} serial killer had been stalking older folks. Over the next years, the variety of folks Chemirmir was accused of killing grew.

For the households of many of the ladies he’s been charged with killing, they discovered months or years after their beloved one’s loss of life that authorities believed they’d been killed. These households had puzzled over the suddenness of their older however in any other case wholesome and energetic family members’ deaths, and in lots of circumstances, filed police reviews when jewellery was discovered lacking after their deaths.

Bartel died in 2020 however jurors heard from her through the trial by a taped deposition. She mentioned she didn’t bear in mind particulars of the looks of the person who attacked her however mentioned she knew she was in mortal hazard the minute she opened her door.

“My eyes had been simply fixated on these inexperienced rubber gloves that I noticed. … I knew immediately once I noticed these two inexperienced rubber gloves, primary, I mustn’t have opened the door, quantity two, my life was in grave hazard,” Bartel mentioned on the video.

She mentioned that she tried to push the door shut however was overpowered. “He mentioned: ‘Don’t battle me, lie on the mattress,’” Bartel mentioned.

Bartel described a pillow being smashed into her face and her attacker “utilizing all his weight to maintain me from respiratory.” Chemirmir was charged with tried capital homicide within the assault on Bartel.

Jurors noticed surveillance video from a Walmart displaying that Harris and Chemirmir had been on the retailer on the similar time, simply hours earlier than she was discovered lifeless.

A lot of the victims had been killed at impartial residing communities for older folks, the place Chemirmir allegedly pressured his means into residences or posed as a handyman.

Harris’ son-in-law, Richard Rinehart, testified that the jewellery and jewellery field discovered within the trash when Chemirmir was arrested belonged to his mother-in-law.

Proof offered confirmed that Chemirmir additionally had quite a few $2 payments on the time. Rinehart testified that his mother-in-law beloved giving them as presents. Police additionally mentioned Chemirmir was arrested with a set of keys that opened the entrance doorways of Harris’ dwelling.

Jurors additionally heard in regards to the killing of of 87-year-old Mary Brooks, who was discovered lifeless in her Richardson dwelling in January 2018. Hers was one of many 18 Chemirmir has been charged with.

Prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin mentioned that Brooks’ loss of life had initially been known as a pure loss of life, however after an investigation following the arrest of Chemirmir, the medical expert modified the reason for loss of life to murder.

Fitzmartin mentioned that Chemirmir additionally adopted Brooks dwelling from the identical Walmart Harris was at earlier than her loss of life. Her daughter, Ann Brooks, testified that after her mom’s loss of life, her mom’s secure was lacking, as was most of her jewellery, together with wedding ceremony rings and a coral necklace she all the time wore.

Chemirmir, who immigrated to the U.S. from Kenya, turned a everlasting U.S. resident in 2007.