Person of interest in Belizean murder investigation pleads not guilty to theft charge

John Deshaies, the Canadian national police have identified as a person of interest in the killings of a Marine veteran from Atlanta and his girlfriend, has pleaded not guilty to a theft charge in an unrelated case. Police in Corozal, Belize, resumed questioning him Thursday.
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John Deshaies, the Canadian national police have identified as a person of interest in the killings of a Marine veteran from Atlanta and his girlfriend, has pleaded not guilty to a theft charge in an unrelated case. Police in Corozal, Belize, resumed questioning him Thursday.

John Deshaies, the Canadian national police have identified as a person of interest in the killings of a Marine veteran from Atlanta and his girlfriend in Belize, has pleaded not guilty to a theft charge in an unrelated case, according to his attorney.

Belizean police say Deshaies, 54, remained in their custody Thursday in Corozal, a town near the Mexican border where they recovered the remains of Drew DeVoursney, 36, of Georgia, and Francesca Matus, 52, a property manager and mother of two from Canada.

Court records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution accuse Deshaies of stealing machine game and operating systems, data servers with hard drives, laptops, other equipment and gambling chips from the Placencia Casino in Belize on March 16. The value of those items, the records show, total 57,378.50 Belizean dollars, or 28,689.25 U.S. dollars.

RELATED: Murder in Belize: Mystery surrounds death of Atlanta Marine, girlfriend

Deshaies has pleaded not guilty to the theft and handling stolen goods charges and has not been charged in connection with the killings of DeVoursney and Matus, said his attorney, Estevan Perera.

“We intend to apply for bail on Friday of this week,” Perera said in an email. “Our client maintains his innocence with respect to both matters. He has only been charged for theft and possession of stolen items. In respect to this matter he was arraigned and a plea of not guilty was made.”

On Wednesday, DeVoursney’s cremated remains were flown from Belize to Atlanta. His ashes will be buried on May 19 at Nashville National Cemetery in Tennessee, near where he grew up and graduated from high school, said his mother Char DeVoursney.

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Police found the Atlanta man and his Canadian girlfriend with their belongings and valuables in a sugar cane field. Ministry of National Security in Belize say they have zero suspects, but have detained several people.

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