One thing for sure is that Shawn Hornbeck suffered horribly at the hands of Michael Devlin. He was penetrated both anally and orally multiple times, for Devlin's sexual gratification, in the 1558 days he was held captive. He had to beg for his life and promised to do anything Devlin wanted him to do, just to stay alive. He lived with the devil for 4 years and what he had to endure brings a gruesome and poignant meaning to making someone go through living hell. Every one of those 1558 days in captivity was literally a living hell for Shawn. Michael Devlin,41, took an 11-year-old innocent child and for 4 years systematically raped him physically and mentally. He made videotapes of the torture (in which Shawn begged him crying out in pain, to stop) presumably for his personal viewing pleasure.
Even that was not enough for Devlin. He went out again looking for another victim and found another youngster by the name of Ben Ownby:
Devlin spotted Ben in early January and decided to take him in part because Ben got off the school bus alone. Devlin stalked Ben for days, driving down the Ownbys’ wooded subdivision to get familiar with the area. On Jan. 8, Devlin packed a 9 mm pistol, a roll of duct tape and a hooded sweatshirt in his white Nissan pickup truck. He parked near Ben’s bus stop and watched the boy get dropped off. Devlin drove slowly down the gravel road toward Ben’s home, and the boy stepped to the side of the road as the truck approached. Devlin stopped and opened the driver’s side door. He asked Ben if he knew where a certain family lived. Ben said he didn’t know and appeared nervous. Devlin said he was worried Ben would run away, so he stepped out of the truck and showed Ben the gun he carried. He put his hand on Ben’s shoulder and ordered him into the truck.
For 4 days Ben was also brutally attacked by Michael Devlin until both boys were rescued by the police. Michael Devlin is a monster.
In 4 different court venues Michael Devlin had to answer a total of 86 criminal charges brought against him. He pled guilty to all charges and was given a total 20 Back-to-Back Consecutive Life Sentences. One thing is sure, Michael Devlin will die behind bars.
"He victimized him in so many ways that you and I can't even imagine. I don't know how long it will take to heal those scars if it all they will ever heal. I wished more than once that the law would allow an execution as punishment for the crimes he committed against my son," explained Shawn's mother Pam Akers.
During Tuesday's hearing, Devlin — standing just feet away from Shawn's weeping parents — admitted in graphic detail how he abducted Shawn in 2002:
After Shawn was abducted at gunpoint while riding his bike in rural Washington County, Devlin took the then-11-year-old to his apartment in suburban St. Louis where he repeatedly sexually assaulted the boy. Days later, Devlin took Shawn back to rural Washington County in his pickup truck, apparently intent on killing him. "I attempted to kill (Shawn) and he talked me out of it," Devlin said. Devlin stopped the choking, but then sexually assaulted the boy again. Prosecutors said it was at that point that Shawn told Devlin he would do whatever was asked of him in order to stay alive.
"This boy made this contract, this deal with the devil, only to survive," Washington County prosecutor John Rupp said.
Rupp said he was satisfied with the sentences Devlin received. "You heard it from his own mouth. You've heard what kind of a monster he is," Rupp said after the hearing.
Devlin's lawyers said the 41 year old Devlin took responsibility for what he did. One of Devlin's lawyers, Mike Kielty, told us, "Mr. Devlin was not willing to put these children and their families through anything more. Mr. Devlin was not willing to put his own family through anything more."
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch was not impressed. McCulloch said:
"I find it grotesque that he would even suggest or anyone would suggest that he has some concern or care about these boys and that's why he entered a plea of guilty. Devlin pled guilty for Michael Devlin. Devlin pled guilty for one reason and that was so that the entire world wouldn't know the full extent of the atrocities that he committed on these boys."
For more on the sentencing of Michael Devlin and video clips of his court appearance including the victim impact statements read by Shawn's mother and step father: Click here