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Man charged with murder in Somerset church killing

 

SOMERSET—Dwight Mitchell Bell confessed to robbing and killing a woman last month in a Kentucky church, according to police.

Bell, 41, was charged with robbery and murder in the death of Ruthie Carolyn New, 70, on Aug. 24 in Somerset.

Bell was taken into custody after Somerset police detectives, with the assistance of the Major Crimes Task Force and the Dandridge Police Department in Dandridge, Tenn., located him in the Dandridge area.

Somerset police charged him with murder on Sept. 13.

Dandridge Police Officers arrested Bell without incident on charges stemming from the warrant for the theft of New's automobile, which was found in Indianapolis. Police in Indianapolis had released surveillance images of Bell.

New was found dead in the activity center at Denham Street Baptist Church in Somerset.

She had been reported missing by family and pastor Jeff Griffith searched the church and found her, reportedly in a storage area. Authorities have not released any details about her death.

Somerset officers went to Tennessee and interviewed Bell, who confessed to the killing, according to Somerset Police Chief William Hunt.

She was the widow of the former pastor at the church. Her late husband, J.S. New, founded the church in January 1973 as a mission of Slate Branch Baptist Church. She remained an active member after her husband's death in 2012, and served as the church’s custodian. (BP)

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