Man pleads not guilty to killing Ky woman at her church

Dwight Bell was arrested in Dandridge. He's wanted for questioning in the murder of a woman at a Somerset church.

SOMERSET, KY - The man charged with killing a woman in her Kentucky church pleaded not guilty before a judge Friday morning.

Dwight Mitchell Bell was arrested in Dandridge on Wednesday. He was wanted for questioning in the death of Ruthie Carolyn New, 70, who was found dead on her church's property in Somerset.

Bell waived extradition and was transported back to Kentucky to face murder and robbery charges. 

Somerset Police Chief William Hunt said on Wednesday that Bell had confessed to the murder and robbery of New.

Bell is lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center.  

New's body was found in the activity center of the Denham Street Baptist Church August 24. She was the church janitor and the pastor said she spent a lot of time on the property.

Police have released documents saying that shortly after the murder, Bell was caught on camera in a Lexington Rite Aid where he purchased Vienna sausages and chocolate milk. 

Previous story Sept. 13, 2017

A man called a "person of interest" in the rape and murder of a Kentucky woman in her church was arrested in Tennessee.

Dwight Mitchell Bell was tracked down in Dandridge, according to a post on the Somerset Police Department's Facebook page on Tuesday.

According to the arrest report from the Dandridge Police Department, the Cocke County Sheriff's Department contacted them on Tuesday afternoon that Bell may be located at Pilot Travel Center on Patriot Drive. Officers located Bell in the laundry area of the business.

Officers confirmed through the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) that Bell was wanted in Somerset for the theft of New's vehicle and for questioning in her attack and murder. He was also wanted in Henry County, Indiana, for strangulation.

He was arraigned in court Wednesday morning and is expected to face an extradition hearing on September 21. 


Previous story: Sept. 1, 2017

A man who served time for killing his father is wanted for questioning in the rape and murder of a Kentucky woman who was found dead in her church.

The pastor of Denham Street Baptist Church in Somerset found 70-year-old Ruthie Carolyn New's body in the activity center on the church campus last week.


The Somerset Police Department has issued a warrant for the arrest of Dwight Mitchell Bell for the theft of New's vehicle. They call him a "person of interest" in New's death.

According to WLEX, Bell was arrested for the death of his father in Indiana in 1999. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to several years in prison.

Bell is 41 years old, approximately 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs approximately 170 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen in the Indianapolis area.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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