A serial killer from Connecticut was sentenced to 360 years in prison — equal to six consecutive life terms — on Friday. William Devin Howell pleaded guilty in September to the murders of six people who he buried in what he referred to as his “garden” behind a strip mall in New Britain.
In court, Howell admitted to his crimes as he apologized to the victims’ families. Before he was sentenced, he said he deserved the death penalty.
“First, I want to apologize to the victims’ families,” he said, according to the Hartford Courant. “I know everyone wants to know why I committed these crimes. I don’t have an answer. I do not know myself.”
Howell was a drifter who killed seven people in 2003 over a six-month period, the Associated Press reports. He was already serving a 15-year prison sentence for manslaughter for the killing of Nilsa Arizmendi when he was arrested in 2015 after the human remains of Arizmendi and six others — Melanie Ruth Camilini, Diane Cusack, Marilyn Mendez Gonzalez, Joyvaline Martinez, Mary Jane Menard and Danny Lee Whistnant — were found in his “garden” behind the strip mall. He has been in prison for Arizmendi’s death since 2005.
On Friday, families of Howell’s victims gave powerful statements in court.
Tiffany Menard was the daughter of victim Mary Jane Menard. People reports that she recounted how she tried to kill herself twice after her mother went missing.
“He stripped away the youth from us and made me and my brother orphans,” she said. “I would see my mom on the streets thousands of times only to realize every time that it wasn’t her.”
Danny Lee Whistnant’s sister April Rich addressed Howell directory.
“You may be able to protect yourself physically in prison, but there is no weapon that will protect you from your own thoughts.”
Howell said he expects “a slow painful death in prison” because of his diabetes, according to the Courant.
“I hope that provides some comfort to each of the families,” he said.
Howell mutilated some of his victims. He strangled others, according to police. He sexually assaulted at least three of his victims. According to police, Howell called the van he drove at the time his “murder mobile.” While imprisoned, he told another inmate that there was a “monster inside him,” a complaint reports.
[Photo: New Britain Police Department]