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Boys’ Kidnapper Gets 170 Years More

  Criminal Law  -   POSTED: 2007/12/23 01:04

Michael Devlin received one final sentence Friday — 170 years — for making pornography of a boy he kidnapped and sexually assaulted over four years.

Devlin is already serving multiple life terms for kidnapping and assaulting Shawn Hornbeck and another Missouri boy, Ben Ownby. This time around, a federal judge went well beyond the sentencing guideline of 30 years.

The sentence came on a guilty plea in October from Devlin to four counts of making pornographic photos and videotapes of Shawn, who was abducted at age 11 in 2002, and two counts for taking Shawn across state lines on trips to Illinois and Arizona with the intent of sexually assaulting him.

The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sexual assaults, but the identities of Devlin's victims became widely known in the coverage of his arrest and prosecution.

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 Shawn 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.

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."

The Akers told the judge Devlin had shown their son, and those who love him, no mercy and spoke of how they were without him for 1,558 days.

"I don't think any parent can bear the thought of their child being tortured for one day, yet alone four years," Pam Akers said.

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.

Despite news reports that Devlin might be provided a different identity, Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Hauswirth said that had never been planned and questioned whether it would be legally permitted.


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