Police searching for murder weapon pull gun from Lake Champlain
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Police pulled a gun from Lake Champlain on Tuesday afternoon-- a break in a double-homicide investigation.
Denroy Dasent, 52, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Sheikhnoor Osman, 40, Sunday night in Burlington. And police say Dasent is the suspect in the killing of Brian Billings, 37, just three hours later in South Burlington.
Police chased Dasent and arrested him by Perkins Pier in Burlington.
Tuesday, Vermont State Police spent the day at the ferry dock marina in Burlington diving for evidence Dasent might have left behind.
Boat traffic was closed off while the divers were in the water.
The water isn’t all that deep in the marina, but it’s dark and state police tell us visibility underwater is basically zero.
Vermont State Police Capt. Matt Daley says it was a simple operation but given the circumstances, very slow work.
“Our guys are fighting a lot of things under the water that are causing our guys to slow down a little bit and try some new things and really make sure we cover the area and get a good search in,” Daley said.
To find the gun they simply ran their hands across the bottom of the lake, two divers on either end of a line underwater. They tried a metal detector but they were told it was just getting caught on the plants at the bottom.
But in the end, state police divers did come up with a gun. They immediately handed it over to the Burlington Police Department. They took some pictures and it is now evidence in the Burlington Police Department’s case.
WHO IS DENROY DASENT?
In addition to Sunday’s killings, Dasent is also the primary suspect accused of opening fire last Wednesday in City Hall Park at 7:15 p.m. while diners were eating outside around the corner on Church Street.
The picture is becoming more clear about who Dasent is. Dasent owns the Island Passion in the South Burlington University Mall food court. Tuesday it was closed during hours it normally would be open.
According to court paperwork, Dasent has a criminal history in California, New York and Vermont, along with being a convicted felon.
He has been convicted of aggravated assault and battery, and felony drug sales.
Burlington Police say he has around 14 interactions with police.
“Insofar as having interactions with police, it only goes back a year plus. That is not true of other people involved in this both as witnesses, both as victims. There are many people who are and have been long-term residents of Burlington,” Burlington Acting Police Chief Jon Murad said.
The first murder Sunday night was at 185 Pine Street in Burlington around 8 p.m., where Dasent is accused of shooting and killing Sheikhnoor Osman.
One of the people in the apartment at the time was the sister of Brian Billings.
Just three hours later, Brian Billings was shot dead outside the Swiss Host Motel on Williston Road in South Burlington.
Dasent is also the primary suspect in last Wednesday’s City Hall Park gunfire incident. Witnesses say they saw Dasent and his car there and watched him open fire. No one was hit.
Also, court documents suggest the same ammunition was found at the Pine Street murder scene and in Dasent’s South Burlington apartment.
Police say that while motive is important in proving a case in court, that will come in time.
“When it comes down to it, motive is a secondary factor to whether or not somebody did what they did. And I believe we have sufficient evidence here to be able to put forth a strong case that a suspect did what he did,” Murad said.
Dasent is being held without bail at the Northwest State Correctional Facility.
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