A Kenyan-born man has been sentenced to life in prison in the United States after being found guilty of murdering an 81-year-old woman.
Billy Kipkorir Chemirmir, believed to be a serial killer was handed the sentence after Jurors deliberated for 45 minutes.
He was found guilty of smothering Lu Thi Harris in March 2018, who he had met at a Walmart supermarket.
According to Dallas Morning News Judge Raquel ‘Rocky’ Jones sentenced Chemirmir to life in prison without parole.
He went to her home, killed her, and stole her jewelry, prosecutors said.
Police say he preyed on elderly women in senior living communities and private homes in Dallas and Collin counties, stealing their valuable jewelry and other precious items.
Chemirmir, 49, who hails from Kabunyony village, Eldama Ravine in Baringo County, is accused of killing numerous elderly women at assisted facilities in Texas.
He is facing 18 capital murder charges while civil suits from families accuse him of murdering eight more women.
So far, authorities have charged Chemirmir, a former healthcare worker, in connection with the deaths of 18 elderly people in Dallas and Collin Counties between 2016 and 2018.
However, he has been accused of killing 24 people from April 2016 through March 2018.
During the trial, jurors were shown a surveillance video showing Harris and Chemirmir shopping at the same Walmart before she was discovered dead in her Far North Dallas home hours later.
The discovery followed the arrest of Chemirmir on an attempted murder charge in Plano where a 91-year-old woman survived one of his alleged attacks.
The victim said she was attacked by an intruder, with police linking a suspicious vehicle on the premises to another senior living complex and another attempted murder case in Frisco. The vehicle led police to Chemirmir, who was arrested at his apartment in March 2018.
Police officers said they saw him toss a jewelry box into a dumpster. Inside the box was the victim’s name.
Since then, authorities have linked another 17 murders to the 49-year-old suspect, but they believe the actual toll is even higher.
In his testimony, detective Cayce Shelton from the Dallas Police Department said the keys recovered from Chemirmir unlocked her front door.
At the home, they also recovered a pillow stained with lipstick that matched Harris’, and that she had lipstick smeared across her face.
The victim’s son-in-law identified the jewelry box recovered from the bin as belonging to his mother-in-law and a necklace with Lu Thi Harris’ nickname Kim.
This was Chemirmir’s second trial for Harris’ death. Chemirmir escaped a conviction in November after jurors deadlocked following 11 hours of deliberations over two days. The Dallas Morning News reported that one juror refused to budge, according to notes sent to the judge from that jury.
This week, jurors also heard about attacks on Mary Brooks on January 30, 2018, in her Dallas condominium and Mary Bartel on March 19, 2018, in her retirement community apartment.
Bartel survived and helped the police on an investigation that led them to Chemirmir. Brooks’ death initially was thought to have been of natural causes, but the medical examiner changed his ruling after Chemirmir’s arrest and the discovery of Brooks’ missing jewelry.
Chemirmir’s attorney Kobby Warren said they have already filed a notice of appeal, saying they do not believe the State had enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
“We respect the verdict of the jury. I don’t just agree with it,” Warren is.
If convicted of all the murders, he will become one of the most prolific serial killers in Texas history.
In Texas, capital murder carries either automatic life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty, with prosecutors reserving the death penalty for offenses deemed heinous.
Chemirmir, who moved to the US in the 1990s after marrying an American citizen, has been described as a loner.
Chemirmir will remain in the Dallas County jail until after the trial for Brooks’ death, which has not been scheduled. He will then likely be transferred to Collin County, where prosecutors also have five indictments against Chemirmir for deaths there.