A man who abducted and sexually assaulted two boys pleaded guilty on Monday. One of the boys was in captivity for more than four years.
Michael Devlin, 41, has been jailed since Jan. 12 when police went to his lodgement searching for William "Ben" Ownby, 13. Ownby had been kidnapped four days earlier.
Rescuers were shocked to find Ownby and Hornbeck, now 16, who had disappeared while riding a bike in 2002.
Devlin is expected to plead guilty to all the charges against him, a prosecutor and a relative of one of the boys said Friday. He could face multiple life sentences stemming from conviction on the charges he faces.
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, the anguish of a trial.
Michael Devlin pleaded guilty to one charge of child kidnapping and one charge of armed-criminal action in the Jan. 8 abduction of 13-year-old William "Ben" Ownby. It was the first in a series of hearings this week in four jurisdictions where Devlin faces more than 80 counts in the kidnappings and sexual abuse of Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck, who was allegedly held at Devlin's home for years.
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 the teens said earlier they were thrilled with the news, but remained cautiously optimistic until the deal was completed.