Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2023. 11:28 am CST.
By Jose Luis Cruz: 50-year-old Billy Chemirmir, a prisoner who is serving time in a Texas jail after being convicted of killing two women and accused of murdering 22 others, was found dead in his prison cell, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Chemirmir was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole when he was allegedly killed by his cellmate, who was also in prison for murder, said the Texas Department spokesperson, Hannah Haney. The incident comes in the backdrop of rising concerns over inmate violence in Texas prisons.
NBC reports that Chemirmir’s death follows a statewide lockdown across Texas’ 100 prison facilities, put in place because of the increase in killings inside these prisons. Officials believe the rise in violence is due to drug-related activities. The Coffield prison unit, where Chemirmir was held, was among 25 units still under lockdown at the time of his death. Haney did not disclose the name of Chemirmir’s cellmate or provide details on how or why the killing occurred.
Chemirmir was caught in 2018 when a 91-year-old woman survived an attack in a living community for seniors, and reported the incident. He was found the next day in possession of jewelry and cash. After he was arrested, police revisited earlier deaths, resulting in a long list of additional charges against him.
Many family members of the victims said they had suspicions when their healthy, active mothers were pronounced dead of natural causes. Documents in a jewelry box that Chemirmir had thrown away led police to discover another victim, Lu Thi Harris, 81, dead in her bedroom.
According to NBC, Chemirmir had been indicted on 22 counts of murder. Prosecutors had chosen not to seek the death penalty. After his conviction for the murders of two women, the remaining charges were dismissed.
Haney stated that the Office of Inspector General is investigating the circumstances surrounding Chemirmir’s death.
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