DALLAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) — CBS News Texas has learned more about the prisoner authorities believe is responsible for the death of suspected serial killer Billy Chemirmir.
Chemirmir was convicted of killing two people but is thought to be responsible for at least 20 others. He was killed overnight by his cellmate, Wyatt Ellis Busby.
What we know
Busby is from the Houston area and has also been convicted of murder. He is seven years into a 50-year sentence for murder and has a lengthy history of violent convictions.
Sources told CBS News Texas that Busby was sharing a cell with Chemirmir, who had been living in a maximum security prison near Palestine since receiving a life sentence last October.
Sources also said Busby killed Chemirmir at some point during the night.
The families of Chemirmir's victims say the news has left them with mixed emotions.
"This was a big surprise to all of us," said Dan Probst. "I don't know if I'm happy or sad."
Probst is the nephew of one of nearly two dozen elderly women who were strangled or suffocated from pillows placed over their faces, before being robbed of jewelry and/or other valuables.
It took years to uncover the murders because the deaths were not considered suspicious at the time due to the age of the victims.
Those who wanted justice for their loved ones don't feel sorry for the convicted serial killer.
"I'm still processing," said Shannon Dion, the daughter of one of the victims. "It's shocking, but there is a relief that this part of my nightmare, our nightmare, is over."
Seventeen homicides have been reported already this year inside Texas state prisons. That's more than double last year's number.
A lockdown and search this month uncovered 274 weapons.
"It's not that they kill you on purpose," Jesus Monge said. "It's just that we fight, things happen or use the weapon and you die."
Monge spent nine years in the Texas prison system for aggravated assault before being released in 2018 and turning his life around, becoming a Dallas business owner.
He says from his experience, it's unlikely Chemirmir's high profile crimes were a motive for murder.
"Where there is the most opportunities for conflict is with your cellmate because you got two guys in one cell who have to live together," Monge said. "We're cooped up in this thing together, we have to live together and you get a guy like him and you put him with another guy that's like his cellmate—both with aggravated cases, both with a lot of time—bad things can happen."
At this time, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has not revealed details about Chemirmir's death.
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