ST. LOUIS – Michael Devlin, already sentenced to multiple life sentences for kidnapping and sexually assaulting two Missouri boys, received one final sentence Friday — an additional 170 years on federal charges.
U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton went well beyond the sentencing guideline of 30 years for Devlin, who pleaded guilty in October to six counts for making pornographic photos and videotapes of one of the victims, Shawn Hornbeck, and taking him across state lines on trips to Illinois and Arizona with the intent of sexually assaulting him.
Devlin, 42, was sentenced to multiple life sentences in October after admitting to crimes in Franklin, Washington and St. Louis counties connected to the abductions of then-11-year-old Shawn in 2001 and 13-year-old Ben Ownby in January. Both boys were found four days after Ben was abducted at Devlin's apartment in the St. Louis County town of Kirkwood.
At the federal sentencing hearing Friday, Devlin appeared thinner, with a heavier beard. He showed no emotion, except for an occasional twitch of his shackled hands.
Devlin did not speak.
Shawn's parents, Craig and Pam Akers, were at the hearing. Craig Akers appeared noticeably pained when Devlin's attorney, Michael Kielty, told the judge that by pleading guilty, Devlin spared the boys and their families "the torture of going to trial."
Authorities still haven't determined where Devlin will serve his time. Missouri prison officials are so concerned about his safety because of the nature of his crimes that they have said he may be moved to an out-of-state prison or placed in protective custody. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday that prison officials may even provide him with a different identity.
Shawn was abducted in October 2001 while riding his bike near his home in the Washington County town of Richwoods. Ben was taken soon after getting off a school bus not far from his home in rural Franklin County.
A classmate of Ben's noticed a white pickup truck speeding away. His description led police to Devlin, a former pizzeria manager.
Prosecutors have said Devlin tortured Shawn during his first days in captivity and made the boy promise not to flee to stay alive. Craig Akers has called it a "devil's bargain" that kept Shawn under Devlin's sway for more than four years, even after he had Internet and telephone access.
While it is The Associated Press' policy not to identify suspected victims of sexual abuse in most cases, the story of Shawn and Ben has been widely publicized and their names are well known.