Michael Devlin's Defense Attorney Rejects Plea Deal in Missouri Kidnapping, Sexual Assault Case

An attorney for a former pizzeria manager charged with abducting two Missouri boys, dismissed a plea deal Thursday that was expected to include several life sentences, saying his client could do better before a jury.

Michael Devlin faces six federal and 75 county-filed counts involving kidnapping, sexual assault and producing child pornography. He is charged with abducting 13-year-old Ben Ownby on Jan. 8. Authorities found Ben four days later at Devlin's apartment in suburban Kirkwood along with Shawn Hornbeck, 15, who had been missing since 2002.

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Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Parks said Tuesday that prosecutors from all the jurisdictions are drafting a plea bargain that would include "several, several consecutive life sentences."

But Devlin attorney Ethan Corlija said Thursday that the offer would basically amount to the maximum sentence Devlin would face if he was convicted at trial on every charge.

"Let's see what 12 people can decide. Because I think we can do far better with a jury," he said. "You've heard one side of a story. That's it. At trial, both sides are going to come out."

Parks said he was not willing to offer a sweeter deal. He said his goal is to ensure that Devlin, 41, is never free again.

"I cannot see any plea agreement that would not include consecutive life sentences, because, what good would that do?" he said.

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.

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