NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — The New Britain suspected serial killer has been identified. Three law enforcement sources tell News 8 that 45-year-old William Devin Howell, already incarcerated, is the man police believe is behind the murder of seven people whose remains were found behind the West Farms shopping center on Hartford Road.
Human remains were first discovered in that area in 2007. Those remains were later identified as Diane Cusack, Joyvaline Martinez, and Mary Jane Menard, who all went missing in 2003.Related: Remains of 4 more people found in serial killings probe
On Monday, police announced that their were four more victims, bringing the total to seven murders. They also identified a fourth victim as Melanie Ruth Camilini, of Seymour, who also went missing in 2003.
During a press conference, police said they believed one person committed all these crimes and that they had a suspect, but wouldn’t release the name for investigative reasons.
“There is no longer danger to public,” said Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane. “Person responsible does not pose any threat to public at this time.”
There are no details of what Howell’s connections to the murders are. Investigators are also still working to identify the remaining three victims.
In 2007, Howell was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Nilsa Arizmendi, 33, of Wethersfield. She was last seen alive getting into Howell’s van in a Stop & Shop parking lot in Wethersfield in 2003. Her body was never found; however, her blood and the blood of another unidentified person were found inside the van. At the time of his arrest, police also found a videotape inside Howell’s van which shows two unidentified women. Authorities have never been able to identify them.
“There is a lot more work to be done on this case,” said Kane. “It is a long and involved investigation.”
When Arizmendi diappeared, Howell had been in Connecticut working odd jobs around Wethersfield, Hartford, New Britain, and West Hartford. Those jobs may have been how Howell learned about the area. One theory is that maybe he was dumping grass there and that is how he came to know it.
Howell’s family members say he has a drug-related past and has been in trouble most of his life, “one thing after another,” causing many to cut ties with him. He not only has a criminal record in Connecticut, but also Virginia.
William Howell’s Criminal Past
- 2000: Driving After Being Declared a Habitual Offender (Case was nolled)
- 2002: Failing to Obtain a Bus License (Case was nolled; family says he was a bus driver)
- 2005: Wanted as a Fugitive From Justice
- 2007: Convicted of Manslaughter
- 2007: Convicted of Intimidating a Witness
As of now, he has not been charged with the murders of the victims found in New Britain, and is scheduled to be released from Connecticut Department of Correction in 2019.