Billy Chemirmir, 46, was indicted Tuesday on multiple counts of capital murder in the deaths of the women, 76 to 94 years old, according to Dallas County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Kim Leach.
The suspect was initially arrested in March 2018 in connection with the death of 81-year-old Dallas woman Lu Thi Harris, making for a total of 12 alleged victims.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Chemirmir also faces five charges of capital murder in Collin County, but the county district clerk’s office declined to release any information Thursday and a spokesman for the district attorney’s office didn’t reply to messages seeking information. Court records in Collin County indicate that Chemirmir is charged with two counts of attempted capital murder in connection with similar attacks there.
In addition to the murder charges, Chemirmir is being held on a charge of being in the country illegally.
Chemirmir’s attorney, Phillip Hayes, said Thursday that this week’s charges were a surprise and that he hadn’t yet had time to review them.
But he noted that Chemirmir “has denied it since Day 1” that he played any role in Harris’ death. “They have circumstantial evidence that puts him in the area but that’s as far as the evidence goes,” Hayes said.
Fox 4 reported that the break in the case came when Chemirmir forced his way into the Plano apartment of a 91-year-old woman in March of last year, 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.
Plano police Chief Gregory Rushin said at the time that Chemirmir used his health care experience “to his advantage in targeting and exploiting seniors, some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Police said then that investigators were reviewing about 750 unattended deaths of elderly women for possible links.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.