"Deal with the Devil" - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

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"Deal with the Devil"

"Deal with the Devil"
By: Mike Shain & Heartland News

Shawn Hornbeck struggled and begged for his life as Michael Devlin tried to strangle him.  He survived only by "making a contract with the devil."  

Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Rupp used the "devil" reference in revealing the first public details of Shawn's more than four years at the hands of Devlin who pleaded guilty Tuesday to kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder.

Devlin gave a frightening description of his abduction of Shawn, sodomizing  the 11-year-old boy and then attempting to kill him.  His testimony was emotionless with no expression of sympathy or caring.  Prosecutor Rupp asked at a news conference to "imagine the terror" Shawn faced and the torture.

"When Mr. Devlin was trying to kill Shawn on a remote logging road in the middle of Washington County, Shawn began to beg for his life and he was only granted his life if he made a contract with Devlin and that contract was that he would have to be grateful to Devlin for letting him live and he would have to agree not to run away and live with Devlin for the rest of his life," Rupp said. 

Devlin's attempt to choke Shawn to death did not take place until about a month after the kidnapping.  Devlin told the court that his original plan was to have sex with the boy and then kill him.  The prosecutor says Devlin was not able to achieve the satisfaction he desired so he took the boy to his apartment in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood. 

Shawn was kept bound and gagged, released only to eat, use the bathroom and for Devlin's sexual pleasure.  Devlin then returned Shawn to that lonely logging road and started choking him.  The prosecutor says it is amazing and a tribute to a very brave boy that he was able to face down an intimidating man who towered over him.

Devlin told the FBI he attempted to choke Shawn because guns leave both a mess and evidence.  Devlin is pleaded guilty to state charges in Washington, Franklin and St. Louis Counties as well as federal indictments.

Praising Shawn, prosecutor Rupp spoke of speculation about the freedom the boy later had, even going to school and riding his bicycle.

"Why didn't he run, he could have run, he should have run, he was at fault for not running?"  Rupp continued, telling reporters. "If there is any doubt why he lived up to his agreement it's because (Devlin) gave him one choice - this or death."

Following Tuesday's pleas, it's safe to say Michael Devlin will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Devlin has now pleaded guilty in Washington, Franklin and St. Louis counties to a total of 79 charges against him.

For those pleas he faces 20 consecutive life sentences, which means he'll have to serve them one after the other.

Plus, he faces 50 concurrent sentences, which can be served at the same time and an additional 15 years.

All of these life sentences mean Devlin will not even be eligible for parole for 63 years. He's 41 years old now, so his first chance to get out of prison will be at the age of 104.

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