SARASOTA, Fla. — Sarasota Police have arrested a suspect in relation to a woman who was found dead on the North Tamiami Trail in February, and think he may be behind the murder of another woman in the same area less than two weeks later.
Police said William Devonshire, 52, was arrested on Friday, March 25 on charges of trespassing, possession of cocaine and possession of paraphernalia but police said they also found probable cause to charge him with the February 25 homicide. Police say they were able to link him to the murder of 48-year-old Kelliann Ripley woman from Sarasota who was found dead near the Centennial Park boat ramp just before 5 p.m. on that day. A buccal swab was able to match DNA from Devonshire from DNA found on Ripley at the scene.
Less than two weeks after the murder, on March 10, the body of another woman was also found on the North Tamiami Trail, near the shore of Whitaker Bayou. The second victim, a 59-year-old woman, was also from Sarasota. Police said elements of the two homicides are similar and called Devonshire a "strong suspect" in the other murder.
"This case was solved using science and technology but it was also solved thanks to the non-stop dedication and hard work of Sarasota Police officers and detectives," said Sarasota Police Department Interim Chief of Police Rex Troche. "The men and women of our agency sacrificed their nights, weekends, and time away from their families to make sure justice was brought in this case.
The cause of death was blunt force trauma and manual strangulation.
Devonshire has a lengthy criminal history, including a murder conviction from Delaware, Sarasota Police said.
At this time, police say he is not being very cooperative with the investigation.