DALLAS - Surveillance video, a jewelry box and $2 bills were all powerful but circumstantial evidence against an accused serial killer on the second day of his retrial.
Tuesday, his defense tried to cast doubt on what that evidence proves.
Billy Chemirmir’s first trial in November ended in a mistrial because of a hung jury.
A new jury will decide if he’s guilty of killing 81-year-old Lu Harris in her Dallas home. She is one of 18 alleged victims, all of whom were senior citizens, in Dallas and Collin counties.
On day two of the retrial, the jury saw crime scene photos taken at Harris' North Dallas home.
Dallas police officers forced their way inside after finding Chemirmir in possession of some of Harris' prized possessions, including her jewelry box, bracelet, necklace and ring. Officers found Harris dead on her bedroom floor.
"Ms. Harris' makeup appeared to be done except her lipstick. It appeared to have some smearing or removal," explained Dallas Police Det. Cayce Shelton.
Prosecutors showed jurors the lipstick-smudged pillow found on Harris' bed. Investigators believe it was used to smother her.
Under cross-examination, the defense tried to instill doubt.
"There appeared to be some trails of blood from her nose and mouth," said defense attorney Phillip Hayes. "Any found on the pillow?"
"None observed, no," the detective said.
The detective also testified keys found on Chemirmir at the time of his arrest belonged to Harris.
Harris' former son-in-law, Richard Rinehart, testified that the 81-year-old would never have given away or sold her jewelry. She also collected $2 bills as gifts to friends and family.
"She would order them from the bank like in bundles like you see in the movies," Rinehart said.
Investigators say Chemirmir had dozens of $2 bills in his possession at the time of his arrest.
The jury was then shown surveillance video from a Walmart near Harris' home. On the day of the murder, Harris was seen shopping there at the same time Chemirmir was there.
The surveillance video shows both of them pull out of the parking lot and then head in the same direction, although Chemirmir left a few minutes earlier.
Prosecutors believe Chemirmir was victim hunting at the Walmart, and Harris became his last target.
Chemirmir was already suspected of other murders, but it wasn't until hours after Harris' murder that police picked up his trail and arrested him. He had Harris's possessions and was wearing the same shirt and hat seen in the Walmart surveillance video.
The medical examiner testified that Harris died from asphyxiation. He told prosecutors it’s possible the lipstick-stained pillow was the deadly weapon used, although he could not be certain.
Prosecutors believe Chemirmir has shown a pattern of killing senior citizens and stealing their jewelry.
Mary Bartel survived an alleged attack in 2018 before dying in 2020.
On Tuesday, detectives testified that some of Bartel’s jewelry was being sold online from an account linked to Chemirmir.
"That’s correct," said Dallas Police Det. Brian Tabor.
The prosecution continues its case Wednesday.
Follow below for live updates on the Billy Chemirmir retrial. Mobile users click here.
The first day of testimony got off to a slow start because one juror didn’t show up for court and was located at his place of work. The 22-year-old construction worker told the irritated judge he "forgot."
During opening statements, Lead Prosecutor Glen Fitzmartin called the evidence against Chemirmir overwhelming.
"The keys to Lu T. Harris' house are in his possession," he said. "The actual keys to her house are in his possession when he's arrested."
The defense chose not to make an opening statement.
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty for Chemirmir if he’s convicted of capital murder, but Collin County still has that option.