No one should be surprised when Michael Devlin’s defense counsel enters a “not guilty” plea at his arraignment hearing tomorrow. Like it or not, presumption of innocence, de jure, means that every person here in the US must be proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, in a court of law. Technically, a not guilty plea sets the wheels in motion for defense attorneys to discover what dirt investigators have on their client, then the long, arduous and horrendously expensive legal games begin in earnest.
For the layman, rough translation of “Lux sit” is “Let there be light.”
It doesn’t surprise me that he may only initially be charged with one count of kidnapping of 11-year-old Ownby. Devlin’s possession of 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck for four years is not only even more heinous, but rife with so many unknowns…and a dearth of facts (like the truck identification, and the quick resolution) the Ownby case already holds. The prosecutors need to spend some quality time with this child before arriving at charges. Then there’s this little point that Hornbeck is the star witness for the prosecution. (Ownby was there for four days; Hornbeck for four-and-a-half years.)
Mark my words here, unless something really screwy occurs, which is not beyond the realm of comprehension in modern society, a huge amount of shocking information is in store. I hope the prosecutors in this case surprise us all and hold the evidence against Devlin as tightly as the law and jurisprudence will allow and ultimately nail this bastard to the fate he deserves!
What does absolutely astoud me, I can find no information on anywhere: Where in the Hades has Devlin’s family been over the last four years that Shawn Hornbeck has been in his possession? Does Devlin have any family? Apparently so, because there was a “statement” issued by them when this story broke. In it, they made the following request:
“Just as we are relieved that both Ben and Shawn are now safe, we hope that Michael will be safe as the facts of his case are revealed.”
Here is the link to the full statement from KSDK-TV in St. Louis:
So…are Devlin’s family aware of Shawn’s living in Devlin’s home all this time? And if so, how do they explain him being there? Surely, this is one angle under strident investigation, as well as the stories of both boys in their own words. No wonder the family refuses any contact except through their legal representatives, Hogan, Sokolik, Corlija & Kielty! A wee review of what we know now includes….:
1. Both Ownby & Hornbeck were found together in Devlin’s apartment. Prior to and leading toward their discovery, Devlin had a chat with local cops he knew from the Pizza joint and, when pressed by a couple of uncomfortable questions about his truck, did a “Personality 180” and became belligerant and downright mean. 2. Both Ownby & Hornbeck were abducted. They were the same age at the times of their respective abductions, too. Could there be other abductions worth exploring here, we all wonder?
3. Devlin’s white truck was a dead ringer for the vehicle witnessed and concisely described by Ownby’s friend Mitchell Hults speeding irratically away from the immediate area and at the immediate time of Ownby’s kidnapping. Said vehicle was identified as Devlin’s and was the impetus for searching his apartment in the first place, which led to the recovery of Ownby and the surprise recovery of Hornbeck simultaneously. (Sorry to be redundant.)
4. Ownby has publically thanked his pal Hults for reporting his sighting of the truck and allowing Ownby’s recovery and return to his family. Ownby has given investigators a wealth of facts surrounding his own abduction by Devlin and captivity leading up to his recovery. Hults now is being hailed and celebrated as a hero by his community, who should reward him for his care. Good for him for having such a great grasp of details and reporting to police as clearly as he obviously did. His description matched Devlin’s truck; Devlin’s apartment revealed both abducted boys.
5. Child pornography was discovered on Devlin’s home computer. That’s a federal offense, too, isn’t it? Tsk, tsk.
Deja vu, folks: We’re about to embark upon an “OJ’ian” odyssey again of many months ahead of ceaseless motions and litanies. As they say, “The best defense is a strong offense.” In trial law, this is a axiom with many, many cases “won” merely by wearing down the opposition, flooding the media with leaks to irreparably taint potential jury pools, or drowning a jury in confusion. Back during the OJ case, a well-worn quip was born: “Sheck Happens.” This case is headed for the same media frenzy, probably the same drawn-out game of litigation, and I just hope the prosecutorial team can keep their mouths shut throughout.
Remember Elizabeth Smart’s case?. She was abducted at knife-point from her bedroom in June, 2002, brainwashed, sexually assaulted and held captive for nine months before being discovered with her captors on Sandy, Utah streets mere miles from her home. Just this past December, her kidnapper Brian David Mitchell was AGAIN found incompetent to stand trial and returned to his comfy mental institutional home (beats the campsite!). His lovely wife Wanda Barzee also has yet to stand trial, while she is being forcibly medicated to somehow make her sane so that she can stand trial. Interesting defense strategies there, don’t you agree?
It will be interesting to see how the technology explosion of the last few years will have a bearing on this case. Today we have bloggers to add to the mix of the media frenzy, and I’ve no doubt this will have a direct bearing on bringing this Devlin case to trial.