TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Authorities say DNA found on a man’s clothing linked him to the killing of a woman who died in March.
The Sarasota Police Department said William Devonshire, 52, who died in June, was considered a suspect in the deaths of two women, but had only been charged in one of their deaths.
In March, police arrested Devonshire for the murder of Kelliann Ripley, 48, who was found dead near the Centennial Park boat ramp in February. Authorities said she died from blunt force trauma and strangulation.
After the arrest, his cheek was swabbed for DNA testing.
Police said they found DNA from the victim of another homicide on Devonshire’s clothing. The woman, a 59-year-old from Sarasota, was found dead near the shore of Whitaker Bayou on March 10. Her name was not released.
Police said Devonshire’s clothes were submitted for testing at an Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab. On Oct. 7, they were able to confirm the DNA found on the clothes matched the second victim’s.
Police said their evidence linked Devonshire to both homicides, but they closed both cases due to his death. The 52-year-old died after having a seizure at the Sarasota County Jail in June, according to police.
“We had indisputable evidence that linked Devonshire to both homicides that occurred in February and March,” said Captain Johnathan Todd, Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigations Division. “Thanks to our partners at the FDLE, we expedited the DNA processing following the homicide in February, and we were able to arrest the suspect. Now, thanks to DNA evidence, we know Devonshire is responsible for both homicides.”
Police said Devonshire had criminal histories in New Jersey, Maryland, Indiana, Ohio, Delaware, and Florida, including charges of assault, aggravated harassment, disorderly contact, battery, burglary, and trespassing. He was convicted of murder in Delaware back in 2005.