Source AP ©

Man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting two boys, plans to plead guilty

A man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting two boys, including one held captive for more than four years, plans to plead guilty on Monday, his defense lawyer said.

Michael Devlin was expected to enter his plea on Monday in Franklin County Circuit Court, the first in a series of hearings this week in four jurisdictions where he faces more than 80 counts.

A prosecutor and several other sources close to the case told the newspaper that Devlin will receive multiple life sentences in exchange for a guilty plea.

Devlin was said to be "at peace" about pleading to the charges. One of his attorneys, Michael Kielty, said Devlin wants to spare his family and his longtime captive, Shawn Hornbeck, the anguish of a trial.

"He instructed me to give this message," the lawyer, Michael Kielty, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I think he's at peace. He's looking forward to a disposition."

Devlin, 41, has been jailed since Jan. 12 when police went to his apartment in search of William "Ben" Ownby, 13. Ben had been kidnapped four days earlier.

Rescuers were shocked to find Ben and Shawn, now 16, who had disappeared while riding a bike in 2002.

Kielty said he presented the evidence against Devlin during one of their many recent jailhouse visits and let him decide. "Here's why Mike is pleading guilty - at one trial or four trials, he didn't think he could get any better of a deal," Kielty said.

Spokesmen for the families of Shawn and Ben said Friday they were thrilled with the news, but remained cautiously optimistic until the deal was completed.

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