Accused serial killer pleads guilty to 6 murders; sentenced to 6 life sentences

HARTFORD — William Devin Howell has pled guilty to the 2003 killing of five women and a man whose bodies were found in a wooded area of New Britain after he was previously convicted of manslaughter in the slaying of another woman.

State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice, said Howell, age 47, entered pleas to six counts of murder in New Britain Superior Court Friday, where he is expected to be sentenced to 360 years, or six consecutive life sentences, in the deaths of the six individuals.

The sentencing is scheduled for November 17.

In 2003, the remains of the six victims were found buried in a wooded area behind a shopping center at 593 Hartford Road in New Britain. At the time he was charged in those deaths, Howell was in prison for his conviction for manslaughter in the first degree for the homicide of Nilsa Arizmendi, who was last seen alive on July 25, 2003, in Wethersfield and whose remains were found in the same wooded area of New Britain where the other victims were buried.

At the time of Ms. Arizmendi’s disappearance, officials said Howell was in Connecticut where he did odd jobs and cut grass at homes and businesses in Wethersfield, Hartford, New Britain and West Hartford. He was arrested in May 2005 in Hampton, Virginia, and subsequently convicted for her death.

The 47-year-old native of Hampton, Virginia, is already serving a 15-year prison sentence for manslaughter in the killing of a seventh victim. He’s being held on $10 million bond.

Brian Preleski, State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New Britain, expressed his appreciation to the Greater New Britain Serial Murder Task Force, which was established to investigate the cases.

“We express our sincere thanks to all who have worked so long and so hard on this difficult investigation, and we again express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of these innocent victims,” Preleski said.

New Britain Police Chief Wardwell said in a statement:

I believe this was a good day for the victims and their families. All of us here at the NBPD are sending our thoughts and prayers to the families and the victims as we near the end of these terrible events. We will be there again in full support of the families at sentencing in November.