Feds Indict Kidnap Suspect Michael Devlin
The indictment marks the first federal charges against Devlin, 41, who also faces multiple state and county kidnapping and armed criminal charges stemming from his alleged abduction of 13-year-old Ben Ownby in January. The teen was found in Devlin's apartment with another missing boy, 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck, who had been missing since October 2002, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said four of the six counts in the federal indictment charge Devlin with kidnapping and photographing sexually explicit acts with a minor between the years of 2002 and 2007. The two other counts allege that Devlin transported the minor – identified only as "S" in the indictment documents – to Illinois and Arizona with the intent to engage in sexual assault.
"This is by far the worst thing that we have seen," said Hanaway, adding that she was "sickened" by the abuse.
Devlin has pleaded not guilty to all charges. In addition to the federal indictments, he faces 75 state charges in Missouri, including 69 counts of forcible sodomy and two counts of kidnapping in St. Louis County; and one count each of kidnapping and armed criminal action in both Washington and Franklin counties.
Devlin is being held in the Franklin County jail in lieu of $1 million bail. His attorney, Michael Kielty, tells the AP that lawyers have not viewed the evidence in the case, but admitted that the new charges could make the case more difficult to defend. "Child pornography cases before a jury are very emotional, very difficult," he said. "If there are photos and videotapes, that certainly would add some weight to the government's case."
In addition, a special task force has been formed to look into a possible connection between Devlin and other kidnapping cases, dating back more than 16 years.