New Britain suspect showed interest in serial killer memorabilia: court documents

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NEW BRITAIN — The accused New Britain serial killer appeared back in court Wednesday morning. William Devin Howell is charged in the murders of six people. He’s currently serving time after pleading guilty to manslaughter for a seventh victim.

Howell, 45, was arraigned back in September following these six new charges.

He was charged with three counts of capital felony, meaning he sexually assaulted at least three of his victims before killing them. He was also charged with three counts of felony murder and three counts of murder in the deaths of Marilyn Gonzalez, Diane Cusack, Joyvaline Martinez, Mary Jane Menard, Melanie Ruth Camilini and Danny Lee Whistnant.  Police say all victims were killed in 2003.

He is serving a 15-year prison sentence for the manslaughter of Nilsa Arizmendi, 33, whose blood was found in the back of a van he was driving when she vanished in 2003.

The victims’ bodies were found buried behind a shopping center in New Britain — three in 2007 and the others last April.

Court records show that Connecticut authorities searched Howell’s prison cell and found notes referencing a serial killer memorabilia website and a newspaper article about Florida’s death penalty. Search warrants filed in court show the items were seized earlier this year from his cell at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown.

Prison guards found a notebook Howell kept that included references to a website that purports to sell items belonging to notorious killers, according to the affidavits. A watercolor painting allegedly done by Gary Gilmore and a John Dillinger death mask were among the items listed for sale this week. A search for Howell on the site turned up nothing.

Officers also found an old cellphone bill with a date in 2003 circled and handwriting that said, “this just shows that the day after I killed,” the affidavits say.

Howell did not enter a plea during his hearing on Wednesday. His lawyer has urged the public to remember the charges are only unproven allegations and Howell should be considered innocent. Howell appeared via video conference from prison.

Click here for our full coverage of the New Britain serial killings.

Additional reporting contributed by the Associated Press.