Man pleads guilty to killing woman in Somerset church activity center

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SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - Dwight Bell admitted to killing Carolyn New.

Bell appeared in Pulaski Circuit Court on Monday and entered a guilty plea to murder and robbery.

Bell told the court doctors once diagnosed with psychological problems during a previous prison stint but that he is in his right mind now and able to make a plea. He also stated he killed Carolyn New in a “psychotic outburst.”

“I took the life of Ruthie Carolyn New, by cutting her throat. And I took her purse and her car. I left and took off,” Bell said in court.

The pastor of Denham Street Baptist Church found New's body on August 24.

Bell went to the church while New was there asking for food because he was homeless. When New returned with food, Bell killed her.

Investigators say Bell left in New's car, stopping in Lexington before eventually driving to Indianapolis and ditching the car.

Police in Dandridge, Tennessee, which is east of Knoxville, picked Bell up and arrested him on September 12.

During a hearing last month, Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery said he would seek the death penalty in the case. With Bell's guilty plea, prosecutors are recommending Bell serve life in prison without parole.

Bell asked the judge to go ahead and sentence him during the hearing on Monday, but he wanted the family to be in attendance. The judge went into recess so that prosecutors could reach out to the family to ask them to come to court. However, New's family members said they could not get to court on Monday and requested the judge set the sentencing for a later date. The judge announced he would formally sentence Bell on Thursday at 1 p.m.

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