DALLAS — After remaining "hopelessly deadlocked" through Friday, a judge declared a mistrial after a Dallas County jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict in the trial of accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir.
The jury had been deliberating since Thursday afternoon. They returned to the courthouse Friday morning, but at around 11 a.m., jurors wrote a note to Judge Raquel Jones, saying they were deadlocked 11-1.
The jury informed Jones that one juror would not change her stance on the trial, and Jones instructed the jury to keep deliberating. About an hour later, the jurors wrote the note to Jones, saying they were still deadlocked.
They sent another note to Jones about 2 p.m., saying the situation had not changed, and Jones responded by delivering an Allen charge, which is a formal instruction to a jury encouraging them to make a decision.
Around 3:20 p.m., the judge declared a mistrial.
It was not clear why a unanimous decision couldn't be reached, and jurors do not have to provide a reason for their decision.
Chemirmir is accused of murdering 18 elderly women across North Texas. The case against him this week has involved one of those alleged victims, Lu Harris.
Families of Chemirmir's alleged victims gave a statement on their reaction to the mistrial decision.
"We would like to say thank you to the prosecution for presenting the compelling and factual case for the murder of Lu Harris... this case represents at least 24 other murders. We are encourage that the prosecutors will try this case again, and we are confident that the jury will convict. We're all devastated by this."
Cliff Harris, the former Dallas Cowboys safety whose mother-in-law is one of the alleged victims, said it was "unfair and unfavorable" that the families couldn't be in the courtroom.
"Having a chance to look at Billy Chemirmir and have the jury look at the victims' children and their feelings. It was the wrong thing to do," Harris said.
"I'm very upset. They presented a really great case, and the one [juror] who didn't vote yes [to capital murder], they didn't even go back and look or had any questions. Just stayed at no. How do you do that?" he added.
"We are devastated at the outcome of this trial... we are sickened that we have to come back and hear the same evidence again that Billy Chemirmir has killed so many people," said Loren Adair Smith, whose mother was alleged victim Phyllis Payne.
Friday morning, Chemirmir's attorneys had motioned to have the trial declared a mistrial, but Jones denied the motion.
Instead, Jones decided to provide further instructions to the jury to make a decision.
Jones and Chemirmir's attorneys agreed on the following instructions to the jury: "It is your duty to consult with one another, to consider each other's views and to discuss the evidence and continue deliberations."
Jones' instructions were not initially a formal Allen charge, which is an instruction that encourages a jury to keep deliberating until they reach a verdict. Chemirmir's attorneys objected to an Allen charge.
Shortly before 2 p.m., the jury sent another note to Jones, saying nothing had changed in their deliberations. Jones responded by issuing a formal Allen charge, strongly encouraging the jury to make a decision and saying it is "reasonable to assume the case will be tried again."
Chemirmir lived in independent living facilities where detectives say he robbed them of their jewelry and then suffocated them.
But despite the long list of charges against Chemirmir, Dallas County District Attorney John Cruezot told the victims' families in June 2021 he would not be seeking the death penalty.
Day 4 started with state's witnesses talking about various cellphone records and other jewelry store receipts.
A manager with Diamond & Gold Exchange testified Chemirmir sold them jewelry on March 19, 2018 -- the very day Lu Harris was killed. The manager says the store paid Chemirmir $91,000 for jewelry from 2015-2018.the state is likely to make the case that the jewelry belonged to the victims Chemirmir is accused of stalking and smothering to death.