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New Britain residents ‘relieved’ after serial killer arrest

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NEW BRITAIN--There's great relief among shoppers and residents of the New Britain area,  where seven victims were found in a make-shift burial ground.

"He deserves the death penalty, if anyone ever did," said John Easton of Avon.

The arrest of suspected serial killer William Devin Howell marks the end of a dark chapter for many around New Britain.

"It's definitely closure. I'm definable glad, I feel safe now," said Sheryll Stinson of New  Britain, who lives in the neighborhood where two of Howell's suspected victims, Diane Cusack and Mary Jane Menard, were last seen.

Six women and one man went missing during a 10-month period in 2003 when Howell was living in New Britain with this then-girlfriend.

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

"Living in fear, you know? I'm like my god I would come in the area, and be like is this guy the one? Is that guy the one?" said Stinson.

It took years before police could find any victims, but in 2007 the human remains of three women were found in the woods behind the Hartford Road strip mall. The swampy 15-acre wooded area behind the Hartford Road strip mall became the epicenter of what's perhaps the state's largest homicide investigation.

"It's very hard to believe, especially since I live right down the street from this ," said Trayvon Jackson of New Britain.

On and off for the past eight years, police were led to this area behind the strip mall as more human remains were found, including as recently as the spring,  when FBI dogs helped lead detectives to four more bodies.

Perhaps justice will served, but for the families of the victims, they'll never get their loved ones back.

"It's a sigh of relief knowing that he's caught, and justice should be served," said Jackson.

Howell, 45, is currently serving a 15-year sentence for manslaughter in the death of Nilsa Arizmendi, whose bones were discovered in the New Britain burial site off Hartford Road.

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