Prosecutor to seek death penalty for man accused of murder at Somerset church

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PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The man charged in the death of a woman in a church activity center appeared in court on Thursday morning, and prosecutors announced they would be seeking the death penalty in the case.

Dwight Mitchell Bell is charged with murder, robbery, theft, evidence tampering, and being a persistent felony offender. Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery says he will seek the death penalty if a jury finds Dwight Bell guilty.

“We filed notice today of the death penalty because this was a murder and robbery, the robbery being the aggravator,” Montgomery said.

Investigators say he went into the Denham Street Baptist Church and killed Carolyn New, 70, in August.

A detective testified that Bell went to the church while New was there asking for food because he was homeless. When New returned with food, police say Bell killed her.

Richard New, the victim's stepson, says he doubts the case against Bell will result in Bell's death. New said he is just glad the accused is locked up and that the prosecution has a good case against Bell who confessed to the crime.

"If he is in prison....and has life with no parole, that’s the same as the death penalty.”

Bell’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. The tentative start date for his trial is April 9th. The judge set a pre-trial conference date for November 6th.

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