Kevin Ray Underwood sat stone-faced Monday afternoon as one of his closest friends, who had always defended the social outcast from bullies, rubbed tears away from his face as he told jurors he was not sure he would ever speak to the convicted killer again. Underwood was convicted Friday of brutally killing a 10-year-old girl in April 2006. When Daniel McDade heard Underwood was a suspect in Jamie's death, he said he couldn't believe the friend he knew could really do such a thing. But after learning the truth, McDade said he was not sure he would remain in contact with Underwood, despite the outcome of the sentencing trial. McDade was one of several witnesses called Monday as defense attorneys attempted to present a case to show jurors why they should spare the life of the 28-year-old former grocery stocker who could face the death penalty for the death of Jamie Rose Bolin. The two became friends because of Underwood's funny "chipmunk laugh,” and his off-the-wall, odd behavior. But McDade told jurors that those same characteristics frequently led to Underwood being ridiculed and "beat up” at school, and that Underwood's father was a hard man who wanted his son to be a more "normal kid like everybody else.” "He wanted him to stand up for himself,” McDaniel testified. "He would say things like ‘stop being such a wussy.'”Comments
‘Nonstop harassment'Chris Lansdale, who considered Underwood "like a brother” recalled that both he and McDade always "stood up for Underwood” because their red-headed friend was picked on almost daily, and he never fought back. "He sat there like a sponge, just absorbing the bullying,” Lansdale said. "… It was just his nature not to fight back.” And despite the fact that he had a few defenders, Lansdale said, the bullying never went away. "It was nonstop harassment,” Lansdale said, adding that Underwood could not even drive down Main Street in Purcell without other students trying to pull him over and drag him out of his car so they could pick on him. On one occasion, Lansdale recalled, a few seniors took a roll of duct tape and wrapped it around Underwood's head. "Me and my brothers got even with them for that,” Lansdale said, "but he never asked for help ... ever.” Lansdale reiterated Underwood's stark and cold relationship with his father, whom Underwood simply referred to by first name ... "Beau.” "Beau would always just say real jerk things to him, and insult his friends,” Lansdale said. Just a few weeks before Underwood killed the young girl, Lansdale said he visited Underwood. They ate pizza, drank some beer and went to a strip club in Oklahoma City. At the end of the night, Lansdale said he could tell Underwood seemed troubled and extremely tense but wouldn't confide in Lansdale. "When we left, I asked him what was wrong,” Lansdale said. "He started to say something then clammed up on me.” In his opening statement Monday, defense attorney Wayne Woodyard told jurors that as a child, Underwood had early signs of social anxiety, but it was made manageable through a network of close friends who stood up for him and became his lifeline to tether him to reality. But as those friends grew older and grew apart, as Lansdale and McDade joined the armed services, Underwood's condition worsened and he became more attracted to bizarre fantasies, including deviant sexual behavior, necrophilia and cannibalism.
Family's role in behaviorWoodyard said Underwood's lack of friends, shy and passive personality, weight problems and social inaction disappointed his father. He also said Underwood witnessed violent mood swings present in his mother, who occasionally demonstrated signs of bipolar behavior, including a rage in which she would begin breaking and throwing items. 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 make an attempt to assimilate. But eventually after getting sick, he quit going to the gym and the "fantasies came back with a vengeance.” Woodyard said doctors have diagnosed Underwood with a plethora of disorders including bipolar disorder, social anxiety, panic attacks, pedophilia, sexual sadism and compulsive masturbation. And while it would be "natural” to think someone with all those disorders to be "insane,” Woodyard said the legal requirements of insanity are hard to prove, including the fact that the person did not know what they were doing or that they didn't know the difference between right and wrong.
Stylist shares eerie taleIndicating that they are relying heavily on previously introduced evidence and testimony in the first phase of the trial, prosecutors only called six witnesses Monday morning during the punishment phase of the trial. One of those witnesses was Elvira Griffin, an Oklahoma City hair stylist who said she had an eerie encounter with Underwood less than a week before the murder. Griffin testified that Underwood came into where she worked and made a comment about her son's 1-year-old birthday picture. "He said it was child pornography because you can't show little girl's nipples,” Griffin said. After explaining that the photo was of a boy, in which his nipples were not even visible, Griffin said the conversation turned to serial killers, and Underwood asked if she knew how to cook organs. After hearing the man's name on the news the next week, Griffin said she called police. The state rested after Jamie's mother and father told jurors what their lives had been like since they lost their daughter, and asked the jury to apply the death penalty. "I was and still am completely lost without her,” Curtis Bolin testified. "There are times I don't know what I'm gonna do. All my life was dedicated to raising her.” Jennifer Fox, Jamie's mother, said she hasn't been able to work since Jamie was killed. "I don't have my little girl anymore,” she told jurors. In order to convince the jury that the death penalty is appropriate, Assistant District Attorney Susan Caswell said the state carries the burden of showing that the murder of Jamie was "heinous, atrocious or cruel,” and that Underwood poses a continuing threat to society. "It's a burden we gladly accept,” Caswell said.