UNION, Mo. – A judge on Thursday denied a jail transfer request for a pizzeria manager accused of kidnapping two boys, rejecting defense claims that a reporter's jailhouse interview with the suspect amounted to a security breach.
Agreeing with prosecutors, Judge David Tobben found no security risk in keeping Michael Devlin at the Franklin County jail.
Defense lawyers had sought the transfer to St. Louis County after Devlin agreed to be interviewed by a New York Post reporter who visited him in rural Franklin County, about 50 miles west.
"You don't have stories about guys breaking into St. Louis County (jail). Let's put it that way," defense attorney Michael Kielty said after the hearing.
The judge said the interview did not breach security because Devlin agreed to see the reporter and was protected behind bulletproof glass.
Defense lawyer Ethan Corlija said he will argue again to have Devlin transferred when Devlin appears at a yet-to-be-scheduled arraignment in St. Louis.
Devlin, 41, faces a charge of first-degree kidnapping in Franklin County in the Jan. 8 abduction of Ben Ownby, 13. He also is accused of abducting Shawn Hornbeck of Washington County at gunpoint in 2003, when Shawn was just 11.
Devlin is charged in his home of St. Louis County with 69 counts of forcibly sodomizing Shawn over four years — and Ben over four days — before authorities rescued the boys Jan. 12. Each charge carries a life sentence.
Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Parks announced Wednesday he also plans to charge Devlin with armed criminal action, alleging that the suspect abducted Ben at gunpoint.
While it is The Associated Press' policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual abuse in most cases, the stories of Shawn and Ben have been widely publicized and their names are now well-known. Also, their families have gone public, conducting media interviews.