Michael J. Devlin may soon be offered a plea agreement that will ensure his imprisonment for the rest of his life, according to Franklin County, Missouri Prosecutor Robert Parks today.
Parks made this statement following Devlin’s second arraignment in Franklin County this morning, this time to enter his plea in answer to the Grand Jury’s indictment of him last week for the armed kidnapping of William “Ben” Ownby.
Parks has been meeting with all jurisdictions, including Washington and St. Louis Counties and the US Attorney’s office, and they have arrived at a preliminary offer to be made to Devlin through his attorneys, Ethan Corlija and Michael Kielty.
At my best calculations, Devlin faces more than 200 years in conservative sentencings for all of the county and federal charges against him and the evidence collected against him is as rock-solid as I have ever seen. And I’m willing to bet Devlin would probably rather do anything else on this Earth than to face the trials ahead of him. One way or another, Devlin will be behind bars until he dies, and he bloody well knows it. Only through a plea agreement is it even remotely possible for him to have any control over which penitentiary houses him, or the circumstances of same.
The end result of a plea agreement bodes nothing but good for all the other parties involved in this nightmare and will allow them to actually return to normal life (whatever that is now) much more quickly.
Shawn Hornbeck would not be forced to endure the tremendous humiliation of a trial that would absolutely require every tiny detail of his life since the age of eleven be scrutinized. Hornbeck would have to testify, in excruciating detail, about and relive his capture, the numerous ordeals of sexual assaults, the creation of pornographic materials, to attending a formal dance mere weeks before his discovery, etc., ad nauseum.
Regardless that we all believe Devlin to be guilty, it is absolutely incumbent upon Devlin’s counsel to diminish the importance of Hornbeck as a witness. It is highly unlikely that they ever could, but that opinion could only be formed after they had tried with all their legalese and might…throughout which Hornbeck would live a public nightmare.
Ben Ownby would also not be forced to endure similar, albeit much lesser a degree of scrutiny at trial. But the comparative shortness of his captivity against Hornbecks would not spare him humiliation or pain either.
And, of course, Missouri and federal taxpayers will reap an enormous windfall of savings by Devlin passing “GO” and going straight to jail.
Will it happen? Absolutely. Devlin’s attorneys have no other viable option. Through their youth, they may well try and play hardball with the prosecutors, but it won’t go far at all. I reasonably expect Devlin’s counsel to announce a negotiated plea agreement before May 15th, which is the date Franklin County has just set to determine if the parties are prepared for trial there to begin.
No findings have yet been released from the Washington County Grand Jury where charges against Devlin relate to Shawn Hornbeck. But Devlin will face a similar second arraignment there if the Jury returns a true bill as expected.
Also yet to report is the St. Louis County Grand Jury, through which prosecutors seek an indictment of 71 total charges against Devlin, including kidnapping, child kidnapping, and 69 counts of sodomy.
Even the Feds have brought a six-count indictment late last week for the creation of pornograpny by Devlin, using Hornbeck as the subject, moreover the transport of Shawn over state lines so that he could continue to sexually assault him there.
Read all about Park’s intent to offer a plea agreement here:
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Devlin’s Not Guilty Plea here: