A man accused of killing 22 older women has been 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 a sentence for murder, but officials have not confirmed how it happened.
Last year, Chemirmir was convicted of murdering two women, but he was also linked to the deaths of 20 others.
According to prosecutors, he targeted older women in the Dallas area for two years – killing them and stealing their valuables.
Despite bereaved relatives raising concerns about missing jewellery, many of the deaths were initially recorded as being down to natural causes. This confused families even further, as many of the victims were still healthy and active.
Chemirmir was caught after a 91-year-old woman survived an attack in 2018 – telling officers a man had forced his way into her apartment at a retirement home, tried to smother her with a pillow, and took her jewellery.
Officers found him the following day in a car park holding jewellery and cash. He had just thrown away a jewellery box, with documents inside leading detectives to the home of an 81-year-old woman found dead in her bedroom.
After his arrest, police across the area reexamined deaths and the charges against him grew.
Following his conviction, a woman gave an impact statement where she showed two pictures 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 displayed the first photo. “This is my mother after you pried her wedding ring off of her finger that she couldn’t even get off.”
Chemirmir had maintained his innocence and was serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole.
An investigation has been launched into his death.
Families of those Chemirmir was charged with killing 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 passing. There’s some relief in feeling that he didn’t get off easily.”