Prosecutor: Plea Deal Possible For Missouri Man Accused Of Kidnapping 2 Boys

Tuesday, March 6th 2007, 8:20 pm
By: News On 6

UNION, Mo. (AP) _ Federal and local prosecutors are considering a plea deal that would mean life in prison for a man accused of kidnapping two boys and sexually abusing one of them, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Franklin County prosecutor Robert Parks said he may join with prosecutors from the federal government and Washington and St. Louis counties in offering a plea deal to Michael Devlin, 41.

It would include ``several, several consecutive life sentences,'' Parks said. He wasn't certain when the deal would be offered.

Devlin, a former pizzeria manager, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of kidnapping and armed criminal action for the Jan. 8 abduction of 13-year-old Ben Ownby.

He also is accused in Washington County of the 2002 abduction of 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck. Both boys were found Jan. 12 at Devlin's apartment in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood. In St. Louis County, Devlin is charged with forcible sodomy, and in federal court, he is charged with producing child pornography.

The federal charges also accused Devlin of taking a minor across state lines and sexually assaulting him. He has pleaded not guilty to all the state charges but has not entered a plea in the federal case.

Since Devlin does not face the death penalty on any of the charges, the only reason to accept an offer of life in prison would seem to be to avoid a trial.

Devlin's attorney, Michael Kielty, would not comment on a possible deal until he sees prosecutors' evidence in the case.

``We will prepare as if we will go to trial,'' he said.

Devlin remains at the Franklin County jail on $1 million bond.

A Franklin County judge set a hearing for May 15 to determine if the case there is ready to go to trial.

While it is The Associated Press' policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual abuse in most cases, the boys' stories have been widely publicized and their names are now well-known. Their families also have gone public, conducting media interviews.