Man in notorious Mo. child kidnapping case stabbed

CAMERON, Mo. (AP) — A man convicted of kidnapping two Missouri boys and keeping one of them captive for four years suffered superficial wounds after another inmate stabbed him because he was angry about the crimes.

Michael Devlin, formerly of Kirkwood, was attacked while eating breakfast April 9 at Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron, prison officials said. He was briefly hospitalized then returned to the prison in northwest Missouri, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Devlin is serving 74 life sentences for kidnapping and assaulting Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby, in a case that drew national attention.

When authorities searching for Ownby went to Devlin’s apartment in Kirkwood on January 2007, they were stunned to find Hornbeck, who had been kidnapped four years earlier from his rural Richwoods home.

An inmate, Troy L. Fenton, told the Post-Dispatch in two letters that he stabbed Devlin out of anger for his crimes. He sent the newspaper a copy of the prison department’s incident report to confirm his claim.

Fenton, who is serving a life sentence at Crossroads for robbery and shooting a police officer, said he made two “ice picks” from the metal guide bars on his typewriter, and put “Shawn” on one and “Ben” on the other.

Prison documents say guards saw the assault and ordered Fenton to stop. Fenton also was cited for having a 15-inch sharpened steel rod, with a plastic handle, hidden under his pillow in his cell.

State prison officials considered sending Devlin out of state or giving him a new identity to protect him while he served his prison term. The ideas were dropped after some victims’ family members objected.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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