A former pizza shop manager who kidnapped two boys was moved to a prison in northwest Missouri Wednesday to begin serving his 74 life sentences in solitary confinement.
Michael Devlin, 42, had been under evaluation at a prison intake center in St. Joseph since October, when he pleaded guilty in three counties and in federal court in the 2002 abduction of then-11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck and the January 2007 abduction of 13-year-old Ben Ownby.
Both boys, from different parts of rural eastern Missouri, were found four days after Ben's abduction at Devlin's apartment in the St. Louis County town of Kirkwood.
Since his arrest on Jan. 12, 2007, Devlin has been segregated from other inmates, first at county jails in Franklin and St. Louis counties, and in St. Joseph since his guilty pleas. Now that he's moved to the maximum-security prison in Cameron, about 50 miles north of Kansas City, he will almost always be alone.
Devlin is housed in "administrative segregation." He's confined to his cell almost all the time, Corrections Department spokesman Brian Hauswirth said. He can have one magazine and one newspaper, and some sacred readings, but no hardback books. He has no TV, no radio, and no computer.
Devlin eats alone, though he gets the same meal as other inmates. He gets one hour of recreation -- by himself -- three times a week. He can shower every third day. He can receive visitors, but must meet with them through glass. He has no contact with other inmates.
Loyd Bailie, Ben's uncle and a spokesman for the family, said he was disappointed that Devlin was protected from the other prisoners.
"He should be in the general population," Bailie said. "Why should he be subject to anything different than other sexual predators? Why should they make stipulations for him?"
Devlin's lawyer said his clients would prefer living among other inmates, even if his notoriety and the heinous nature of his crimes could endanger his life.
"He's split on that, but I think he's demonstrated more of a desire to be out in the general population," attorney Ethan Corlija said. "He's commented to me that if something happens to him in the general population, so be it. It's better than being in solitary."
Devlin's segregation is partly for his own protection, but also for the good of the institution, Hauswirth said.
In addition to his multiple life terms, Devlin was sentenced to 170 years in federal prison.