Between 2016 and 2018, Billy Chemirmir allegedly killed 22 elderly women in Texas in order to steal their jewelry.
On Sept. 19, the gruesome story of a Texas serial killer who preyed on the elderly came to an end when 50-year-old Billy Chemirmir was found dead in his jail cell. Chemirmir, apparently killed by his cellmate at the Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas, was serving a life sentence for the murder of two women. But police believe he killed at least 20 more.
Between 2016 and 2018, Texas authorities allege that the Kenyan-born Chemirmir murdered at least 22 women in their homes or at senior independent living centers in order to steal their jewelry. At first, many of the deaths were chalked up as natural causes. But then a 91-year-old surviving victim was able to point police in Chemirmir’s direction.
This is the chilling story of Billy Chemirmir, the Texas serial killer who preyed on the elderly.
From Kenya To The United States
As The Dallas Morning News reports, Billy Chemirmir was born in 1972 and grew up on a farm in Kenya, between Eldoret and Nakuru. Chemirmir’s father had three wives, and Chemirmir said that he had 28 siblings.
“I was brought [up] in a good family. I didn’t have any problems all my life,” Chemirmir told The Dallas Morning News in an interview.
He claimed that he was well-liked and a good student, and that he started working as a caregiver by caring for his elderly father, then 100 years old. In 2003, Chemirmir left Kenya and moved to the United States, where he continued to work as a caregiver alongside another job selling cars.
From there, however, Chemirmir began to act erratically. Though he married in 2004, his wife filed for divorce two years later because Chemirmir vanished. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated twice, once in 2010 and once in 2011. And then, Billy Chemirmir started getting violent.
In 2012, he got into a violent argument with his girlfriend after he came home drunk from a strip club. The Dallas Morning News reports that Chemirmir punched her, beat her with a pot, and kicked her in the back. Then he grabbed a knife and repeatedly stabbed a nearby loveseat.
Just a few years later, he’d escalate to murder.
Billy Chemirmir’s Life Of Crime
Billy Chemirmir’s murder spree started in 2016. He targeted both women living at senior independent living centers and in private homes. Police believe that Chemirmir used his knowledge of the healthcare system to force his way into women’s apartments at senior living communities, and that he posed as a healthcare or maintenance worker to gain access to women’s homes.
At first, many of the women’s deaths were chalked up to natural causes, although some of them were active and in good health. In 2017, PEOPLE reports, 79-year-old Diane Delahunty was found dead in her apartment just three days after having lunch with her adult children. Her daughter found her on the floor and the family assumed at first that she’d fallen out of bed — but then they noticed that her rings were missing.
“I was angry,” her son told PEOPLE. “She was in good health. I wanted to know why this happened.”
In March 2018, Chemirmir attacked 91-year-old Mary Bartel, smothering her with a pillow and stealing her jewelry. But Bartel survived and gave police a description of her attacker. The next day, police found Chemirmir in the parking lot in front of his apartment complex, holding jewelry and cash.
As if this smoking gun wasn’t enough, they also then discovered that he’d thrown away a jewelry box that contained documents which led them to the home of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. Harris was dead.
In all, police believe that Billy Chemirmir killed 22 women. In 2022, he was found guilty of murdering two of them, Harris and 87-year-old Mary Brooks. But Chemirmir always maintained his innocence.
“I am not a killer,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “I’m not at all what they’re saying I am. I am a very innocent person. I was not brought [up] that way.”
The Death Of Billy Chemirmir In Prison
Regardless of his protestations of innocence, Billy Chemirmir was sentenced to life in prison. He was serving his life sentence when, on Sept. 19, 2023, he was attacked by his cellmate, a fellow convicted murderer, and killed.
According to the Associated Press, Texas authorities have not yet released the name of Chemirmir’s cellmate, how he was killed, or what may have led to his death. However, Texas prisons have been wracked with violence lately, and were even placed on lockdown about two weeks ago because of a rise in drug-related murders.
For the almost two dozen families of Chemirmir’s alleged victims, the news of his murder in jail comes as a bittersweet relief.
“My mother died in fear,” Shannon Dion, whose mother, 92-year-old Doris Gleason, was one of Chemirmir’s alleged victims. “This man did not have a peaceful passing. There’s some relief in feeling that he didn’t get off easily.”
After reading about the life and death of serial killer Billy Chemirmir, go inside the mystery of the Chicago Strangler, the mysterious serial killer who may have murdered more than 50 women. Or, see how the glasses that Jeffrey Dahmer wore in prison before he was killed were sold for $150,000.