Billy Chemirmir was reportedly in the country illegally, having overstayed his tourist visa since July 2003. Before he was found dead, Chemirmir was serving a life sentence for the gut-wrenching murders of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris and 87-year-old Mary Brooks.
The 50-year-old had posed as a caregiver before smothering his victims with pillows and later selling their belongings on eBay, as reported by Breitbart on Sept. 19. The outlet added that law enforcement had initially believed the deaths to be due to natural causes, owing to Chemirmir’s deceitful tactics.
While it isn’t immediately clear how Chemirmir perished, family members of the victims reacted to the sudden passing of the perpetrator with relief.
“My mother died in fear,” said Doris Gleason, whose 92-year-old mother fell victim to Chemirmir’s assault.
“This man did not have a peaceful passing. There’s some relief in feeling that he didn’t get off easily.”
One survivor, Mary Bartel, played a pivotal role in the prosecution and recounted her harrowing encounter with Chemirmir.
“He said, ‘Don’t fight me. Lie on the bed,’” Bartel recalled the brute telling her. “I did as he said because I knew I couldn’t overpower him, physically.”
Speaking with prosecutors, Bartel, who has reportedly passed away since her testimony, admitted she was unable to overpower the alleged perpetrator.
“He just smashed a pillow down hard over my face and my chest, and I just couldn’t breathe,” she added. “I tried to move my left hand under the pillow to get to my medical alert button. … It was totally impossible for me to even because the pillow was slammed over me so hard over my head and chest.”
According to Breitbart, the Kenyan man left her for dead before she regained consciousness, with the assistance of paramedics.
During the trial, Ellen French House, whose mother Norma French also died at the hands of the convicted murderer, displayed two photos of her mother. The first one was of her alive, and the second showed her after she was murdered.
“This is my beautiful mother,” House said while displaying the first image. “This is my mother after you pried her wedding ring off of her finger that she couldn’t even get off.”
Chemirmir’s reign of terror came to an end when he was found dead in his prison cell at a rural East Texas, Texas jail. Law enforcement identified his cellmate as the assailant responsible for his demise. The motive behind the attack remains unclear, the Associated Press reported on Sept. 19.