Judge blames media hackers in Purcell slaying case 'leak'

By Johnny Johnson Modified: February 14, 2008 at 5:47 am •  Published: February 14, 2008
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NORMAN — Defense attorneys for murder suspect Kevin Underwood claim prosecutors must have leaked information to a local TV station about a secret ruling regarding Underwood's taped confession.

However, District Judge Candace Blalock, who issued the sealed ruling, has her own theory: The media hacked into a computer to get the information, Blalock said Wednesday during a pretrial hearing.

"I am suspecting that I may have caused a problem myself,” she said, indicating that she "titillated” the local news channels by announcing that she would deliver her decision under seal, meaning the news outlets would not know whether a jury would hear Underwood's taped confession or see evidence gained in a search.

Underwood, 28, is accused of killing 10-year-old neighbor Jamie Rose Bolin in a cannibalistic plot. Because of the case's high-profile nature, Blalock said, she theorizes news outlets went to extraordinary measures to get the sealed information, which would have been made clear later at the trial.

After "titillating” the news media with unattainable information, Blalock said, she made the mistake of putting the information on the Internet by sending an e-mail to her home computer.

"I don't doubt that they hired people to hack into the computers,” she said.

"That's what I think happened, and I think that because I do not believe any of the lawyers involved here would violate (the order.)”

Death penalty fought
Underwood's court-appointed attorneys were visibly upset about a local news report posted online Feb.

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Kevin UnderwoodThe 28-year-old is accused of killing 10-year-old neighbor Jamie Rose Bolin in a cannibalistic plot in Purcell. Jury selection begins Tuesday, following the Monday holiday. The trial will be in Norman, because pretrial publicity on the case initiated a change of venue from Purcell.

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