Voice from the grave points finger at accused Texas serial killer

Billy Chemirmir is charged with killing at least 18 seniors who were robbed of their jewelry and valuables

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A voice from the grave pointed the finger squarely at suspected serial killer Billy Chemirmir.

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Chemirmir, 48, is charged with killing 17 elderly women and one man who were robbed of their jewelry and other valuables in the seniors residences where they lived.

Mary Bartel was one of two survivors of the attacks but has since died.

Court heard her taped 2018 deposition in which the 91-year-old told detectives that a man forced his way into her apartment in 2018. The man then smothered her until she passed out and made off with her jewelry.

“I knew instantly when I saw those two green rubber gloves, number one I knew I should not have opened the door, and number two, my life was in grave danger,” Bartel said.

“He just smashed a pillow down hard over my face and chest and I couldn’t breathe. I tried to move this left hand under the pillow to get the medical alert button, but there was no way I could even move my hands.”

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When pals revived her, three rings were missing from her hands.

Mary Bartel testified from beyond in the murder trial of a suspected serial killer. HANDOUT/ FAMILY
Mary Bartel testified from beyond in the murder trial of a suspected serial killer. HANDOUT/ FAMILY

Thanks to Bartel, cops identified Chemirmir as their suspect and quickly tracked him down. Then, they began linking the Kenyan immigrant to similar homicides at old folks’ homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Prosecutors said Chemirmir posed as a health-care or maintenance worker to gain entry to the seniors’ apartments.

His first capital murder trial is for the death of 81-year-old Lu Harris in Dallas County. He has pleaded not guilty.

In his opening address, prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin said the case revolves around three key points.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this a case about stalking, smothering and stealing,” he told the court.

Chemirmir’s troubled defence team did not make an opening statement — possibly in connection to his lawyer being arrested on a solicitation of prostitution charge in Tyler, Texas.

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According to cops, Chemirmir was in possession of an envelope jammed with cash and jewelry when he was arrested. A jewel box he had allegedly just tossed led detectives to a home where they found Harris dead with lipstick smeared on her pillow.

Once they had Chemirmir in their sights, they reopened a number of investigations where the cause of death had been listed as “natural causes.”

According to Fox News, family members of 11 of the victims attended court. One was Cliff Harris, former Dallas Cowboys star and Pro Football Hall of Famer. His mother-in-law is believed to be one of the victims.

“To know that is what your mom went through as well, yeah it’s hard,” said Cheryl Pangburn, daughter of Marilyn Bixler, who died in September 2017. “It’s horrifying to know that’s what our dear moms went through.”

If convicted, Chemirmir faces up to life in prison. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun

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