Gold store owner testifies he bought jewelry from Billy Chemirmir more than two years before arrest

Gold store owner testifies he bought jewelry from Billy Chemirmir more than two years before arrest

Dallas County jurors in the capital murder trial for accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir heard Thursday from the owner of a jewelry store who said he bought gold and diamonds from Chemirmir beginning in November 2015.

Chemirmir is accused of killing elderly women by smothering them, leaving little or no signs of an attack, and stealing their valuable items. The first woman Chemirmir is accused of killing, according to medical examiner records, is Catherine Probst Sinclair on April 7, 2016.

Over three days, Dallas County prosecutors presented evidence of attacks on three elderly women: 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris, 88-year-old Mary Brooks and 91-year-old Mary Bartel. Bartel survived and her story to police set in motion the investigation into Chemirmir. Dozens of death records for women were changed from natural to undetermined or homicide as a result of the investigation.

He was arrested March 20, 2018, the same day as Harris’ death.

The prosecution presented video showing Billy Chemirmir (left) and Lu Thi Harris (right) leaving the Walmart at Coit and Arapaho roads showing that both were in the store at the same time.
Plano police officer Paul Martinez watches an interrogation video of Billy Chemirmir, at right in video, that was played during Chemirmir's trial in Dallas, Wednesday, November 17, 2021. Chemirmir is accused of capital murder in the death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted. Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

Police have said Chemirmir could be among Texas’ most prolific killers. Chemirmir has been indicted on 18 counts of capital murder in Dallas and Collin counties. In all, he has been linked by police records, civil lawsuits and medical examiner reports to at least two dozen deaths. Chemirmir and his defense team say he is innocent.

Jurors in this trial will decide Chemirmir’s guilt in Harris’ death. Lead Prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin said Chemirmir picked out Harris in a Walmart, followed her home and smothered her to death with a pillow. He then took several of her belongings including jewelry and money.

Gilad Nissanov, owner of Diamond and Gold Exchange in Far North Dallas, said he paid Chemirmir more than $91,000 over about two years for jewelry.

Prosecutors have yet to present experts in cell phone technology. Fitzmartin told jurors at the start of trial that they would hear about how Chemirmir’s phone shows he was in the area at the time of Harris’ death.

On Wednesday, jurors watched an hourslong taped police interrogation with Chemirmir the day he was arrested in March 2018. Presented with police accusations that he was in Harris’ house and in possession of her things, Chemirmir denied killing her.

Ann Brooks speaks about her slain mother, Mary Brooks, as a photo of Mary Brooks is displayed by the state during the murder trial of Billy Chemirmir in Dallas, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Chemirmir is accused of capital murder in the death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted. Chemirmir is charged in Brooks' death. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

Jurors also saw video surveillance footage from a Far North Dallas Walmart that showed Chemirmir and Harris were in the store at the same time. He drove out of the parking lot two minutes before she did, though, defense lawyers pointed out.

Prosecutors also showed surveillance footage from the same Walmart of Chemirmir following Brooks in January 2018. Richardson police testified their investigation determined he also targeted her at the store and smothered her to death in her home.

Tuesday, Dallas detectives testified that they found Harris’ body at her home, and her son-in-law testified about her life as a Vietnam War refugee and gracious personality. Richard Rinehart testified that she often gave friends and family member $2 bills as gifts — and Chemirmir was arrested while clutching an envelope with her handwriting that was full of $2 bills.

Monday, jurors heard about Bartel, who survived an attack in her Plano apartment. Police suspected Chemirmir in the attack, and waited at his apartment to arrest him. A Plano detective testified that officers watched as he tossed a jewelry box into a dumpster. The jewelry box included a piece of paper with Harris’ name.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the courtroom is closed to the public. The trial will also be streamed live on the court’s YouTube page.

This content was originally published here.

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