William Devin Howell
Age at crime: 35 years old
Crime: Murder, rape
Place: New Britain, Connecticut
Sentence: 6 consecutive life terms
(Similar to the van Devin lived and killed in a blue 1985 econoline van)
When you hear garden, what do you picture; beautiful flowers, vibrant colors, and an overwhelming floral aroma. So what was William Devin Howell referring to when he talks about his alternative “garden” with no flowers in sight? For Devin, his garden consists of a piece of land behind the local dollar store full of bones and human remains. Read along and let me tell you about Connecticut’s most prolific serial killers in history.
A West Virginian native, William Devin Howell, who prefers to be called Devin, got into his 1985 blue ford econoline van and headed north.
( map of Devin’s travels)
Once reaching Connecticut, Devin settled his econoline, or murder mobile as he calls it, in the parking lot of a local Stop and Shop. Living out of his van, Devin, often frequented prostitutes and was known to the local drug scene. So one night, when Nilsa Arizmendi, a street walker, spots Devin in a parking lot, she doesn’t hesitate to say hi. After entering the van, Nilsa’s boyfriend, Angel, claims that was the last time anyone ever saw her again.
To this day, Devin claims he had no part in the killing of Nilsa. He has since confessed to the other 6 victims, detailing the horrific acts as if they happened yesterday. He admits Nilsa did enter his van, but he explains it was simply for a short ride down the road. Many do not believe he was the culprit in the case of Nilsa Arizmendi, however, it was this initial arrest that led to the other 6 victims.
It didn’t take long after the first arrest for more charges to come. A week after the arrest, a local hunter came across a plot of land, full of human bones. Right behind the local dollar store, investigators found the skeletal remains of 7 people.
Five of Devins victims were women, vulnerable street walkers, and addicted to drugs. He is quoted speaking to a fellow cell mate, expressing his hate for prostitutes stating “I fucking hate prostitutes”. Nilsa, herself, was in the midst of battling a heroin addiction. These traits were the factors Devin used to justify his killings,by killing street walkers and drug addicts he was, in his mind, “keeping the streets clean”.
The sixth victim was uncharacteristically a guy. Because the man was transgender, when Devin met him, he was dressed as a girl. He finds her attractive so he takes Danny, the victim, back to his car for some fun. It’s again in his van, when Danny tries to perform oral sex, and the wig flies off. This angers Devin because he feels he has been tricked. Immediately, he begins to beat Danny until he is dead.
Devin has since been very open about the killings. He explains that he wasn’t in it for the murder, but mainly the rape. He even details the lengths he went to with one victim to try and conceal her identity by ripping off her finger prints and removing her jaw. For Devin, the murder was necessary,but not to fulfill some deep, dark need inside like most killers, but to simply not get caught. When police did finally catch him, in Virginia, they thoroughly searched his van. Inside they found cushions soaked throughout with blood, later to be tested and identified as Nilsa’s, bizarre homemade sex tapes, and a steak knife with blood stains.
Upon receiving 15 years for the murder of Nilsa Arizmendi, in 2017 William Devin Howell was consequently given six life terms for each of his additional victims. He has since shown remorse and has publicly apologized to the victims families.