A man accused of murdering 22 elderly women was fatally attacked by his cellmate in a Texas prison.
Billy Chemirmir, 50, was found dead in his cell after being targeted by another inmate serving time for murder, but authorities have not confirmed how it happened.
Last year, Chemirmir was convicted of murdering two women, but he has also been linked to the deaths of 20 other people.
Prosecutors say he targeted elderly women in the Dallas area for two years, killing them and stealing their valuables.
Although bereaved relatives expressed concerns about missing jewelry, many deaths were initially recorded as being due to natural causes. This further confused families, as many victims were still healthy and active.
Chemirmir was arrested after a 91-year-old woman survived an attack in 2018 – telling police a man forced his way into her apartment at a retirement home, tried to choke her with a pillow and took her jewelry.
The police found him the next day in a parking lot with jewelry and cash. He had just thrown out a jewelry box containing documents, leading detectives to the home of an 81-year-old woman found dead in her bedroom.
After his arrest, police in the region re-examined the deaths and the charges against him increased.
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Following her conviction, a woman made a statement in which she showed two photos of her mother – one where she was alive and another after she was killed.
“This is my beautiful mother,” Ellen French House said as she posted the first photo. “This is my mother after you took her wedding ring off her finger and she couldn’t even take it off.”
Chemirmir had maintained his innocence and was serving two life sentences without parole.
An investigation was opened into his death.
The families of those accused of Chemirmir’s murder expressed shock and relief at the news of his death.
Shannon Dion, whose 92-year-old mother Doris Gleason was one of his alleged victims, said: “My mother died in fear. This man did not have a peaceful death. There is a some relief in feeling that he didn’t get away easily.”