Man sentenced to life in prison for Pulaski County murder

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PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A judge sentenced a man who says he killed a woman inside a Somerset church on Thursday afternoon.

Dwight Bell pleaded guilty on November 6th to killing and robbing 70-Year-old Carolyn New. On Thursday, the judge sentenced Bell to life without the possibility of parole.

“You took from all of us. You stole the innocence from this community. You stole the comfort that Ruthie New brought to her family, her friends,” Pulaski Circuit Court Judge David Tapp said.

The death penalty would have been an option had a jury considered the case.

“After today I do not wish to think of him again,” said Carolyn's sister Donna Meece told the court.

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."

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.

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