DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After about four hours of deliberations, a Dallas County jury decided to continue Friday morning in deciding the fate of Billy Chemirmir, who is on trial for the capital murder of Lu Thi Harris in her Dallas home.
The jury began deliberations around 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 and by 7:45 p.m., they decided to stop for the night.
The defense team requested the jury be sequestered.
The judge denied the request.
Chemirmir faces life in prison without parole.
Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.
Chemirmir, 48, was arrested in March 2018 after 91-year-old Mary Annis Bartel survived an attack by a man who forced his way into her apartment at a senior living community in Plano.
The man told her “don’t fight me” as he tried to smother her with a pillow and left with jewelry.
When police tracked Chemirmir to his nearby apartment the next day, he was holding jewelry and cash.
A jewelry box police say he had just thrown away led them to a Dallas home, where Harris was dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.
After his arrest, authorities announced they would review hundreds of deaths, signaling the possibility that a serial killer had been stalking older people.
Over the following years, the number of people Chemirmir was accused of killing grew to at least 18.
Most of the victims were killed at independent living communities for older people, where Chemirmir allegedly forced his way into apartments or posed as a handyman.
He’s also accused of killing women in private homes, including the widow of a man he had cared for in his job as an at-home caregiver.
Chemirmir’s attorney called the evidence against their client circumstantial.