Devlin change of venue hearing continued

Monday, September 10, 2007 | 2:16 p.m. CDT; updated 3:55 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

POTOSI — A change of venue hearing in Washington County for the man accused of kidnapping Shawn Hornbeck has been delayed until Oct. 1.

Ethan Corlija, an attorney for Michael Devlin, said he sought a continuance of the hearing, which was originally scheduled for Monday.

The hearing is set to determine which county will be picked to provide a jury in the case against 41-year-old Devlin, who is charged with kidnapping, attempted murder and abuse of Shawn Hornbeck in Washington County in 2002.

Corlija said he and his partner Michael Kielty want a jury to be selected from large metropolitan areas of St. Louis City, St. Louis County or Jackson County, which includes the Kansas City metro area.

Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Rupp said he wants a jury to come from a rural county near Shawn’s hometown of Richwoods. Rupp did not return a message seeking comment Monday morning.

Police officers rescued Shawn — who turned 16 in July — on Jan. 12 when they searched Devlin’s apartment in St. Louis County. They also found 13-year-old William “Ben” Ownby, who had disappeared four days earlier in Franklin County.

Devlin faces more than 80 charges in St. Louis County, Franklin County and federal court for kidnapping and abusing the boys.

Devlin currently is being held in St. Louis County, where he is expected to be arraigned Sept. 19 on 71 counts of kidnapping and abuse.

Corlija said he and Kielty are visiting frequently with Devlin and reviewing evidence that state and federal authorities have collected in the case.

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