PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — The families of two women thought to be murdered by Billy Chemirmir have filed a lawsuit against the apartment complex they were both murdered in.
The lawsuits filed are on behalf of the family members of Miriam Nelson, 81, and Ann Conklin, 82, against the Preston Place Retirement Community in Plano — where they were both found dead in 2018.
According to the lawsuit, Nelson was a beloved mother, grandmother and friend who was known for her kind and generous spirit and her “unparalleled zest for life.”
After Nelson’s husband of 59 years died in 2015, she decided it was time to move closer to family — somewhere safe for an elderly woman living alone. Her family stated that Preston Place appeared to be the perfect fit: it was right down the road from her daughter, offered companionship and amenities that catered to independent living seniors and most importantly, offered a safe and secure “gated” environment.
On March 7, 2018, Nelson had just received her weekly delivery of groceries when she heard a knock at the door. Presuming that the employee must have forgotten something inside, Nelson quickly called for the person to enter. However, the person who walked through the door was not the same person who had just delivered her groceries. It was Chemirmir.
Chemirmir told the 81-year-old that he was there to check for leaks but since she did not recognize him as one of the regular maintenance men, she shortly called the front office to report the incident to management.
The family stated that despite it being the middle of a weekday, no one answered her call. So, the following morning, her grandson went to the management office and “strongly voiced his frustration and concern” that a trespasser had accessed the gated community and his grandmother’s apartment. At this time, neither Nelson or her family were made aware of the five other women who had suddenly died on the premises.
Nelson was murdered the next day and by the end of the month, the lawsuit reported that her family learned the reality of what happened on the last day of her life.
“By the end of the month, Miriam’s family would discover the horrific and preventable reality about what happened on the last day of their mom’s life. They would discover that the same man who had accessed and robbed Miriam’s apartment on March 7, 2018 had returned two days later on March 9th. They would learn that he forced his way into Miriam’s apartment and forced Miriam into her bed. They would learn that he then placed a pillow over their mother’s face and held it down as Miriam struggled helplessly to breathe. They learned that, after he had killed Miriam, Chemirmir had scavenged her apartment to steal the fine jewelry he must have identified during his first visit.”
And just a week later, Conklin also fell victim to Chemirmir after he forced his way into her apartment, forced her onto the ground and held a pillow over her face until she died.
Her family said she was a vibrant woman whose life was dedicated to helping people and animals.
Law enforcement later confirmed that Conklin was the last of seven women Chemirmir murdered at Preston Place between Oct. 31, 2017 and March 18, 2018. The lawsuit also claimed that Preston Place’s facade of being a secure senior living community was “geared only toward in luring elderly residents to maximize occupancy and profits for their private equity owners and investors.”
The lawsuit continued to say that despite Preston Place purporting to be a “gated,” “resort-like” retirement community, numerous residents and their family members complained that the security gates regularly malfunctioned, failed to completely close and were often left wide open for extended periods of time — allowing the complex to be highly accessible to Chemirmir.
Consequently, both families are now seeking monetary relief of over $1 million for gross negligence and exemplary damages.