SARASOTA, Fla. – This week, a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) sent to the Sarasota Police Department scientifically connected William Devonshire, 52, to a homicide in early 2022.
The Sarasota Police Department believed Devonshire was a strong suspect in two homicide investigations but could only charge him in one of the cases because of DNA evidence.
DNA from a homicide victim, a 59-year-old woman of Sarasota, who died in March 2022, was found on Devonshire’s clothing. The woman’s remains were found near the shore of Whitaker Bayou just before 4 p.m. on March 10, 2022.
Devonshire’s clothing was submitted to the FDLE for DNA processing. The FDLE report, dated October 7, 2022, said that the DNA found on Devonshire’s clothing matched the March 2022 homicide victim.
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Kelliann Ripley, 48, Sarasota, was found dead in February 2022 near the Centennial Park boat ramp. Devonshire was arrested in March 2022 and was facing charges of Murder in connection to the death of Ms. Ripley. The family of Ms. Ripley allowed Ms. Ripley’s name to be released publicly. Devonshire voluntarily gave a buccal swab to Sarasota Police officers on March 15, 2022.
A buccal swab is a q-tip swab inside a person’s mouth for DNA comparison. On March 25, 2022, Devonshire was arrested by Sarasota Police Department officers in Pioneer Park, 1260 12th Street, Sarasota, on charges of trespassing, possession of cocaine, and possession of paraphernalia.
Devonshire, 52, died in the Sarasota County Jail in June 2022. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said on May 17, 2022, Devonshire was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital following a medical event. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and District 12th Medical Examiner’s Office said Devonshire died at the jail from a medical-related illness. The Sarasota Police Department closed the two homicide cases because of the death of Devonshire.
“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,” said Captain Todd.
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 charged in 2003 and convicted in 2005 of Murder in Delaware.