Crime

He was charged with killing an elderly DFW woman. Police now think he’s a serial killer.

Suspected serial killer in DFW accused of killing 12 women

Suspected serial killer Billy Chemirmir is accused of killing 12 elderly women in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
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Suspected serial killer Billy Chemirmir is accused of killing 12 elderly women in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

A man suspected of killing an 81-year-old woman in Dallas was indicted on six additional murder charges in Dallas County and linked to five more deaths in Collin County this week.

Billy Chemirmir, 46, posed as a caregiver for women across the Metroplex before killing and robbing them, according to police and court documents. As of Tuesday, Chemirmir was accused of killing 12 elderly women and attempting to kill two others in the DFW area.

Chemirmir was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury in the deaths of six Dallas women:

  • Phyllis Payne on May 14, 2016
  • Norma French on Oct. 8, 2016
  • Doris Gleason on Oct. 29, 2016
  • Phoebe Perry on June 5, 2016
  • Rosemary Curtis on Jan. 19, 2018
  • Mary Brooks on Jan. 31, 2018

He was also linked to the deaths of five elderly women in Collin County, Star-Telegram media partner WFAA reported. The Collin County medical examiner labeled those five cases as homicides, but the names of the victims have not been publicly released.

Norma French, 85, was born in Galveston and attended the University of Texas-Austin, where she joined Kappa Alpha Theta and studied elementary education.

French’s daughter, Ellen House, said she is not supposed to talk about the investigation but referred to the alleged murders as “horrible.”

“He’s a very bad, very evil man,” she said.

Plano Chief of Police Gregory Rushin said at a news conference last year that Chemirmir used his healthcare experience to his “advantage in targeting and exploiting seniors.”

However, Chemirmir isn’t a licensed nurse in Texas or anywhere in the U.S., according to records.

Rushin also said Chemirmir would impersonate maintenance personnel at a retirement community in Dallas.

Chemirmir had been known to use the name “Benjamin Koitaba” when finding work. A woman who said she worked with him in Dallas told the Star-Telegram that Chemirmir used his cousin’s name and Social Security number when applying for jobs.

In May 2018, Chemirmir was indicted in the death of Lu Thi Harris, 81, who was killed in her apartment by suffocation in March.

Police had been following Chemirmir in the investigation of a 91-year-old woman who was assaulted in her apartment in Plano when Chemirmir was seen dumping a jewelry box in a trash bin in Dallas. The box led police to Harris’ home, where she had been killed.

While Chemirmir was in custody at Dallas County Jail, Frisco police served a warrant against him for attempted murder in another case — the assault of a 93-year-old woman. A man had forced his way into the woman’s home, pushed a pillow over her face and stole jewelery from her.

At a press conference in March 2018, Plano police said authorities were combing through more than 750 unattended senior deaths dating back to at least 2010 that weren’t previously investigated to determine if Chemirmir was involved.

“He told the [Plano] victim, ‘go to bed and don’t fight me,’ ” Rushin said at a news conference in March 2018. “She complied and the suspect put a pillow over her face, causing her to lose consciousness, and he then stole her jewelery.”

According to Tuesday’s indictments, Chemirmir robbed the six Dallas women and smothered them with pillows between May 2016 and January 2018.

Search records show that investigators found a trove of women’s jewelry, cell phones and medical scrubs in Chemirmir’s apartment after Harris’ death, WFAA reported.

Chemirmir has lived in the Dallas area for more than a decade, but court records note that he is a citizen of Kenya. Immigration authorities have placed a jail hold on him.

His bail has been set at more than $9 million.

Reporter Mitch Mitchell contributed to this article.
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