Transcript Staff Writer

Kevin Ray Underwood spoke matter-of-factly about his plan to kill, rape and then 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 played for jurors today.

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. He said the fantasies may have corresponded to his taking the antidepressant medication Lexapro.

Until recently, he said, 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.'"

When that didn't kill her he covered her nose and mouth with his hands until she died, he said. He sexually assaulted her and tried to decapitate her. The deed was messy, though, and Underwood said he regretted his action almost as soon as he started.

But he said he was in over his head, so Underwood put Bolin's body in a plastic tub and duct taped it shut until he could dispose of it.

"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 366-3541

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