The Death Penalty for Child Molesters? Let’s Give it a Try.
It’s time for the American people to stop letting child predators roam our streets and prey upon our young.
This recent case in Missouri is just one of what seems to be a never ending number of real life tragedies playing out before us on a daily basis. As you may recall, on January 8, thirteen year-old Ben Ownby was forcibly taken at gunpoint while walking home from his school bus stop in rural Missouri. Fortunately for Ben, a young friend and a passerby were able to provide authorities with a fairly accurate description of the suspect vehicle, and that information eventually led the police in Kirkwood, Missouri to arrest Michael Devlin, 41, a part-time funereal home worker and pizzeria manager.
While at an apartment complex in Kirkwood to serve a warrant for another individual, Officer Gary Wagster and his partner, Officer Chris Nelson noticed a truck in the parking lot that closely resembled the vehicle described as possibly being used in the abduction four days prior. The two officers then questioned neighbors and residents in the apartment complex hoping to gather information as to the owner of the vehicle and their whereabouts. It was during this canvas that they observed Devlin leaving his apartment so they approached him. Devlin was co-operative at first, but in the course of questioning he became defensive and argumentative, raising red flags with the two officers.
Both Wagster and Nelson knew Devlin from the pizzeria he managed, “It was a total 180 degrees”, Wagster stated. “We were shocked, he was a very laid-back and quiet individual,” the officer said in an interview on CBS’s “Early Show”.
Officers Wagster and Nelson notified the FBI and the Franklin County, Missouri officials then staked out Devlin’s apartment awaiting their arrival. When the FBI arrived, Devlin refused them entrance to his apartment and they waited until Friday morning when Devlin left to go to work to enter the premises. Not only did they discover Ben, they also found fifteen year-old Shawn Hornbeck who had disappeared in October of 2002, while riding his bicycle. As yet no one knows why Shawn stayed as long as he did, having had numerous opportunities to leave, but psychologists believe he was manipulated into believing that further harm would come to him or his family if he did leave.
Authorities are now investigating Devlin in a 1991 disappearance of yet another eleven year-old boy from Lincoln County, Missouri. Charles Arlin Henderson, know as Arlin to his friends and family was like Shawn, abducted while riding his bicycle. According to Lincoln County Sheriffs Lt. Rick Harrell, there is a “striking resemblance” between Shawn and Arlin who vanished from Moscow Mills, MO, only an hour away from Devlin’s apartment.
Who knows what would have happened to Shawn or Ben had it not been for two civilians, and two very well trained and observant police officers.
There’s a reason people like Michael Devlin kidnap again, and that reason is because when their victims reach the age of maturity, they are no longer sexually attracted to them so they throw them away and begin their hunt for another child. In this case there was a good outcome, as good as one could expect anyway. Both these boys and their families will need extensive therapy for years to come, but at least they are alive. In all likelihood, Shawn would probably have been killed soon after the arrival of Ben, and his body most likely would never have been found.
It is time we start treating these people like the people they are. Child predators are the bottom feeders of our society, and should be treated as such. States should ban together and share a common set of laws and punishments for these people. There should be no second chances. People who abuse our children should be locked up for life and their offenses treated as ineligible for parole.
Another option would be to make these crimes capital/federal offenses, and give jurisdiction to the federal courts. The death penalty may not be legal in all of the states, but it is on the federal level and by making these capital offenses on the federal level, it makes these sick perverts eligible for the “big sleep” no matter where they commit their crimes. If we can make bank robbery and carjacking federal crimes, surely we could include crimes against our children. Or is the safety and security of our Cadillac’s and BMW’s worth more than that of our children?
It is time for us to put a stop to these people, and permanently removing them from society should be the first step.