EDITOR'S NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT
By Julianna Parker
Transcript Staff Writer
Kevin Ray Underwood spoke matter-of-factly about his plan to kill, rape and eat 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin in a videotaped confession shown Thursday in court.
The 28-year-old former grocery store stocker is on trial for the first-degree murder of Bolin, his Purcell neighbor. Underwood has shown no emotion during the trial this week and was unmoved as he watched his confession.
Underwood’s parents, who have been at nearly all stages of the trial, were not there for the confession. Bolin’s family also either did not show up or left during the explicit confession. The jury didn’t react emotionally.
In the April 14, 2006, video, Underwood confessed to two FBI agents at the Purcell Police Department two days after Bolin went missing. At the beginning of the tape, Underwood said he felt nauseated. He spoke softly and had to be prompted with questions. As he launched into his plan, he became more animated and even excited about his plot.
Underwood told the FBI agents he hatched the plan after viewing cannibalistic pornography online and fantasizing about eating someone.
Underwood said at one point he started having these fantasies only recently. They started when he got back on his antidepressant medication, Lexapro, a few months before. At another point in the taped confession, he said his obsession with cannibalism began about a year before.
“It started off as cannibalism … I wanted to know what it tasted like, just the thought of eating someone, and it was appealing to me,” he said. “But then it kept kind of evolving from there ’cause I am, you know, sexually frustrated. I haven’t had sex in four years.”
Underwood said he masturbated frequently. Sometimes while he was watching children play outside his apartment and thinking about kidnapping and raping one, he would become so sexually aroused he couldn’t go through with the plan.
“I’d just be hit with disgust, I mean like, ‘My God, what am I thinking about? You can’t do that, it’s horrible,’” Underwood said.
Underwood said he had been looking at pornography online for about 12 or 13 years.
“There’s a lot of weird stuff on the Internet, and so as the years went by, you know, I just kinda got kinda desensitized to normal porn,” he said. “You have to just keep going after harder and harder core stuff.”
Lately it had progressed to cannibalistic pictures he found on a Web site.
Underwood’s plan included physically restraining someone with duct tape and handcuffs. He planned to behead and eat them.
He said until recently, though, he never would have thought of killing or eating someone.
“This is just entirely against my nature,” he told the agents. “… I’m not really religious, but what beliefs I do have would be pretty much best described as Buddhist.”
He said he’d been planning his crime seriously for about a month, but he didn’t have anyone in mind originally.
“I had kind of planned all along to probably get a kid, just mainly because they’d be easier to grab and easier to get rid of afterwards — smaller and, you know, put up less of a fight,” he said.
He said he stood outside his apartment door watching the children and trying to choose one.
“Well, I did kinda favor this girl a little,” Underwood said of Bolin. “I had seen her and … I was kind of like, ‘Well, I really like her.’ But then as I saw her more and more, I’d, you know, I’d think, ‘No, I can’t hurt her. You know, she’s nice and I know her too well.’”
Underwood said Bolin had been to his apartment a few times because she liked his pet rat. April 12, 2006, Bolin came into his apartment to look at his pet.
“She was a very trusting kid that if it hadn’t been me, it coulda ended up being someone else, ’cause, like I said, she just kinda wandered into my apartment,” Underwood said. “I didn’t, you know, force her in there or even ask her in.”
He said she was in his apartment about 15 minutes while he tried to decide whether to go through with his plan.
Eventually, he picked up the wooden cutting board he’d kept on hand to subdue his victim and hit Bolin over the head to knock her out. Underwood said he had to hit her with the cutting board repeatedly while she pleaded with him to let her go, saying she was sorry.
“That’s something that’s, you know, haunted me forever since it happened,” he said. “She started yelling, ‘I’m sorry,’ which you know, I’m like, ‘What is she sorry for? She didn’t do anything wrong. It’s me. You know, I’m the one that should be sorry.’”
Underwood’s crime didn’t go as he’d anticipated. The body was much heavier than he thought it would be and he had trouble moving it. He dragged the body to his bedroom floor where he sexually assaulted the body but said he didn’t actually have sex with it.
He said he decided to try and behead Bolin in the bathroom. The blood was all over the bathroom, he said.
“At this point, you know, I was just disgusted,” Underwood said. “I was like, God, this mess. … I guess I was already pretty upset, you know; I can’t believe this, I wish I hadn’t did it, you know, I wish I could take it back.”
He couldn’t undo it, though, so he stashed the body in a plastic tub until he could dispose of it, Underwood said.
“At the end I was like, ‘No, I don’t even wanna open the tub and look at this body. I’m just gonna drag the tub out to a field and set it on fire,” Underwood said.
Two days later, FBI agent Craig Overby questioned Underwood. He denied his involvement until Overby discovered the plastic tub. At that point, Underwood confessed. Later, Overby and another agent interviewed him in the tape produced in court Thursday.
In the video, Underwood also told FBI agents he tried to cover up his crime by taking apart Bolin’s bike so he could dispose of it more easily. He said he intentionally talked to Bolin’s father a few times and expressed his concern so no one would suspect him.
He showed no visible remorse in the video, but did say he understood that what he had done was against the law.
“I know what I did was wrong, and I know I deserve to be punished for it,” he said. At the end of his confession, Underwood became sick and vomited repeatedly.
The state rested its case after the video was shown to jurors. Then the defense rested without calling witnesses. District Judge Candace Blalock said closing arguments would begin Friday morning, as well as jury instructions. The jury is expected to begin deliberating Friday.
Earlier in the day, Inas Yacoub, forensic pathologist for the state medical examiner’s office, testified that Bolin died of asphyxiation.
Melissa Custer, the woman who had an almost decade-long online relationship with Underwood, testified that she chatted online with Underwood shortly after he allegedly killed Bolin. Custer said Underwood seemed “unusually happier” the day of Bolin’s disappearance. The next day, she said he told her he had a “difficult 24 hours” and said he didn’t want the police to come and search his apartment.
Julianna Parker email@example.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Underwood Trial
- Jury deliberates in Underwood trial The jury began deliberations at about 3 p.m. today to determine the punishment for Kevin Ray Underwood in the first-degree murder of Jamie Rose Bolin.
- Question emerges as jury deliberates The jury in the Kevin Ray Underwood case has passed a question and two requests to the court.
- Attorneys prepare jury for deliberations Attorney for the state told the jury to choose the death penalty for Kevin Ray Underwood today during closing arguments.
- Jury to deliberate this afternoon in Underwood trial Both sides rested their cases in the first-degree murder trial of Kevin Ray Underwood this morning.
- State's rebuttal witness testifies Kevin Ray Underwood would pose a higher risk of reoffending than another psychologist testified, the state's rebuttal witness said in court this morning.
- Family of Bolin praises Underwood’s death sentence The jury’s decision to punish Kevin Ray Underwood with death was an emotional one, for both jurors and family members.
- Inside Underwood's mind Kevin Ray Underwood’s personality and mood disorders could be medicated and that would potentially control his deviant sexual impulses, a psychiatrist specializing in sexual impulse disorders testified in court Wednesday.
- Underwood's disorders could be medicated to keep him in line, psychiatrist says Kevin Ray Underwood's disorders could be medicated and that would potentially make his deviant sexual impulses decrease, a psychiatrist specializing in sexual impulse disorders testified in court this morning.
- Tests claims Underwood not a psychopath, also could have faked answers Kevin Ray Underwood would pose a low risk for violence if he were sent to prison, said Dr. Antoinette McGarrahan, a clinical psychologist.
- State questions psychologist's opinion Underwood would not pose threat to others Assistant District Attorney Susan Caswell tried to cast doubt on psychologist Robert Prentky's assertion that Underwood would not pose a continuing threat to society, in court this afternoon.
- More Underwood Trial Headlines