CHESHIRE - Admit-ted serial killer William Devin Howell has been in restrictive housing at the Cheshire Correctional Institution since Nov. 3, after prison officials found a plastic knife hidden in his cell, correction officials said.
Howell is due to be sentenced Nov. 17 in the deaths of six people whose remains were found in 2007 and 2015, and is “not authorized” to have a plastic knife, said Department of Correction spokeswoman Karen Martucci. Plastic knives are not distributed to the general prison population.
The knife was found during a random cell check and Howell was immediately moved to restrictive housing, Martucci said. He will be returned to a regular prison setting Saturday but will face further sanctions including a possible loss of recreation time and other privileges, she said.
Martucci was not sure how Howell obtained the knife or why he was hiding it in his cell. He pleaded guilty to the six murders weeks ago as he was serving time for a seventh murder. All the killings occurred in 2003 while he was living in Connecticut doing odd jobs.
New Britain police were able to connect him to the six murders after forensic testing showed DNA from several of the victims, including bloodstains, were in the van he was driving in 2003.
Howell has been held in a state prison since 2005 after he was charged in the death of Nilsa Arizmendi, who went missing from Wethersfield in July 2003. She was last seen getting into Howell’s van, police said.
Her remains were found with the remains of three other of Howell’s victims in late April 2015, in the same location where the remains of three other women were found in 2007.
Howell admitted to killing the six and leaving their bodies behind a strip mall on Hartford Road in New Britain. He had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Arizmendi’s death in 2007 - in the same week that the remains of three women were found on Hartford Road. He has never formally admitted in court to killing Arizmendi.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com Follow on Twitter@LbackusNBH