Defense launches bid to spare Underwood's life

By Johnny Johnson Modified: March 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm •  Published: March 3, 2008
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NORMAN — Defense attorneys outlined their strategy Monday morning as to how they hope to save the life of 28-year-old Kevin Underwood, who was convicted last week of the murder of his 10-year-old upstairs neighbor Jamie Rose Bolin.

Defense attorneys have indicated they expect to call 22 witnesses.

Defense attorney Wayne Woodyard reminded jurors of their earlier promise to weigh evidence and balance information presented even after previously "disturbing" evidence prompted them to find Underwood guilty of first degree murder.

"If you do not listen to this evidence, our system fails," Woodyard said.

Unremarkable life

For the most part, Woodyard said, Underwood lived a "life very unremarkable."

In his opening statement, Woodyard talked about how Underwood was an outcast and often a target of bullies at school.

He went on to say that Underwood, a shy and passive child who was overweight and never physically or socially active, was a disappointment to his father, and had violent mood swings that were sometimes present in his mother, who occasionally demonstrated signs of bipolar behavior, including breaking and throwing items.

"I think the evidence will show that possibly some of these bipolar tendencies were passed to Kevin," Woodyard said.

As a young boy, Woodyard said, Underwood had early signs of social anxiety, which was made manageable through a network of close friends who stood up for him and became a lifeline to tether him to reality.

But as the friends grew older and grew apart, Woodyard said Underwood's condition worsened and he became more attracted to bizarre fantasies including deviant sexual behavior, necrophilia and cannibalism.

Realizing his tendencies toward his dark desires, Woodyard said Underwood tried to deal with his problems and started going to the gym to lose weight and he tried to to assimilate. But eventually after getting sick, he quit going to the gym and the "fantasies came back with a vengeance."