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Kidnapper Devlin gets extra 170 years in prison

Michael Devlin received one final sentence Friday — 170 years — for making pornography of a boy he kidnapped and sexually assaulted.
Boys Found Devlin
Michael Devlin is escorted out of the Franklin County Courthouse under heavy security in Union, Mo., in this October file photoJeff Roberson / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

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

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 six counts of making pornographic photos and videotapes of Shawn, who was abducted at age 11 in 2001. Devlin was also sentenced Friday 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.

Boys spared from trial
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 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.