Captor: Boy talked me out of killing him

Michael Devlin is escorted out of the Franklin County Courthouse, Monday.
Michael Devlin is escorted out of the Franklin County Courthouse, Monday.

UNION, MO. (AP)  --A former pizzeria manager said Tuesday that he attempted to kill one of the two teen boys he kidnapped and held captive in his Missouri apartment, but the boy talked him out of it.

Michael Devlin, 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and attempting to murder Shawn Hornbeck, who he held for four years. He was sentenced to three life terms plus 60 years in prison.

The plea came a day after Devlin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping another teen - William "Ben" Ownby - who was held for four days before being found by police at the man's apartment.

"I attempted to kill (Shawn) and he talked me out of it," Devlin said in court.

Devlin offered no apologies, but the information shed light on why Hornbeck stayed with him more than four years: The terrorized boy cut a deal just as Devlin was beginning to strangle him.

"This boy made this contract, this deal with the devil, only to survive," prosecutor John Rupp said.

Prosecutors said Devlin snatched Hornbeck at gunpoint when the boy, then 11, was riding his bike in the remote town of Richwoods. Police searching for Ownby, who was abducted at gunpoint after stepping off his school bus on Jan. 8 near him home, were shocked to also discover Hornbeck at Devlin's home. Hornbeck was, by then, 15 years old.

Prosecutors said the combined pleas mean he will not be eligible for parole until he is more than 100 years old.

"You heard it from his own mouth. You've heard what kind of a monster he is," Rupp said after the hearing.

Devlin was expected to plead guilty later Tuesday in St. Louis County to 71 felony charges, including kidnapping and sexual assault relating to the two boys.

Devlin's attorneys have said he accepted a plea deal after reviewing the massive body of evidence collected by state and federal authorities. The boys' families said they were relieved because the pleas will spare the teens from testifying and reliving the ordeal.

While it is The Associated Press' policy not to identify suspected victims of sexual abuse in most cases, the story of the two teens has been widely publicized and their names are well known.

Posted by KO

The Associated Press and CBS News contributed to this report.