William Devin Howell Pleads Guilty to Serial Murders
William Devin Howell pled guilty today to killing 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.
Howell, age 47, entered pleas to six counts of Murder in New Britain Superior Court, where he is expected to be sentenced to 360 years, or six consecutive life sentences, in the deaths of the six individuals. Superior Court Judge Joan K. Alexander scheduled sentencing for November 17, 2017.
Howell was formally charged on September 18, 2015, in the deaths of three women whose identities are confidential, pursuant to Connecticut state law, because they were victims of sexual assault. He also was charged in the deaths of Marilyn Gonzalez, born October 16, 1976, who was last seen on May 16, 2003, in Waterbury where she lived on Hillside Avenue; Mary Jane Menard, born May 7, 1963, and who went missing in October 2003; and Danny Lee Whistnant, born October 5, 1958, and who was reported missing on June 24, 2003.
Under the terms of the guilty pleas entered today, Howell will be sentenced to six sentences of life in prison, which under Connecticut law is defined as 60 years on each count. The sentences will be served consecutively for a total effective sentence of 360 years, 150 years of which is mandatory per state law, which sets a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison for Murder.
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, 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.
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.