DNA match links suspect to second Whitaker Bayou murder

William Devonshire
William Devonshire(SCSO)
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 9:31 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota Police say they have received new DNA evidence tying a dead murder suspect to the March murder of a woman near Whitaker Bayou.

William Devonshire, 52, was a strong suspect in two homicides but had been linked by DNA to only one of the cases.

Devonshire died June 5 in the Sarasota County Jail after being treated for a brain bleed caused by a head injury during a epileptic seizure, authorities said.

At that time Devonshire was facing a murder charge in the death of 48-year-old Kelliann Ripley, who was found dead in Centennial Park Feb. 25. The medical examiner found that Ripley died due to blunt force trauma and manual strangulation. DNA matching Devonshire was found on Ripley’s clothing, police said.

Sarasota Police also believed that Devonshire was a strong suspect in the second, eerily similar case of 59-year-old Vickie Levitch, who was found March 10 under Whitaker Bayou Bridge along North Tamiami Trail. Levitch also died from asphyxiation by strangulation, investigators said.

DNA testing in that case was completed last week by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. On Thursday, Sarasota Police say the results “scientifically connected” Devonshire to Levitch’s murder.

“We had indisputable evidence that linked Devonshire to both homicides that occurred in February and March,” said police Capt. Johnathan Todd.

The Sarasota Police Department officially closed the two homicide cases after Devonshire’s death.