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Widow of Somerset pastor was murdered by a cut to her neck

Dwight Mitchell Bell, 41, was charged with robbery and murder in the slaying of Ruthie Carolyn New, 70.
Dwight Mitchell Bell, 41, was charged with robbery and murder in the slaying of Ruthie Carolyn New, 70. Somerset Police Department via Facebook

The woman murdered in a Somerset church died as a result of a cut to her neck, according to a court document.

Ruthie Carolyn New, 70, was found Aug. 24 in a pool of blood in a storage closet at Denham Street Baptist Church, Somerset police said in a court document.

Detective Larry Patterson said in a sworn statement that New “was killed by a laceration to the neck.”

Dwight Mitchell Bell, 41, has been charged with murdering New and stealing her car and personal items.

New, the widow of former pastor of the church, helped clean the building.

Witnesses told police they had noticed a man hanging around the church before the murder, and police identified him as Bell, according to the court record.

Documents filed in the case list an address for Bell on Loudon Avenue in Lexington.

Police arrested Bell in east Tennessee on Tuesday. Somerset officers traced him to that area by monitoring transactions on his food-stamp card, according to a document.

Bell confessed to killing New, Patterson said in his statement.

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