Devlin pleads not guilty in Ownby case

Thursday, January 18, 2007

UNION, Mo. (AP) -- Accused kidnapper Michael Devlin made his first appearance before a judge Thursday, entering a plea of not guilty in the abduction of 13-year-old Ben Ownby.

The 41-year-old pizzeria worker and part-time funeral home employee remained in the Franklin County Jail during the arraignment, appearing through a video hookup. He is jailed on $1 million bond.

Devlin stood with his hands folded in front of his stomach, wearing orange jail-issued clothing. He mostly responded to the judge's questions with yes or no answers and did not make a statement.

Associate Circuit Judge David Tobben scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 15.

Ben had just returned home from a day at middle school Jan. 8 when he was abducted soon after getting off his school bus. Another student who got off at the same stop, Mitchell Hults, saw a white Nissan pickup speeding away.

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