'I didn't tell him enough,' dad says of love for son

By Johnny Johnson Modified: March 5, 2008 at 5:53 am •  Published: March 5, 2008
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NORMAN — Convicted killer Kevin Ray Underwood, who has exhibited a detached demeanor and lack of emotion since his 2006 arrest, needed a tissue to wipe his reddening eyes Tuesday while his father testified.

Larry "Beau” Underwood told jurors that he always wanted his son to become more than he was, but that he also always loved him.

"More than anything,” the 30-year meat market manager said in a whisper, "I didn't tell him enough.”

Larry Underwood, previously described as a cold, silent father figure, was testifying during the penalty phase of the trial during which Kevin Underwood was convicted of killing 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin.

An expert psychologist for the defense later testified that Kevin Underwood "clearly felt that he would never measure up to his father, who was the real man,” and that he was afraid his father thought he was either gay or just a sissy.”

Larry Underwood told jurors that he didn't know if it was that he had been disappointed "in” his son, or "for” him.

"He's got all this intelligence,” he said. "He was so smart that I always thought someday, he'll be somebody.”

Larry Underwood admitted that he was too hard on his son when he was growing up, but he said it was because he never understood him.

Larry Underwood said he became irritated that his son always wanted to stay in his room and wouldn't do things other kids would do.

"I didn't understand he was trying,” the father said.

The father recalled one incident that haunted him, when he got frustrated with his son after a T-ball game, in which an elementary-age Kevin Underwood was "fooling around” in the outfield instead of focusing on the game.

"I said, ‘Kevin, if you didn't want to play, then why did you join?,'” Larry Underwood recalled tearfully.

"And he said, ‘I done it for you, Dad.'”

Larry Underwood expressed pride when he talked about Kevin Underwood's grades and work ethic, the fact that the younger Underwood didn't really drink or do drugs, and that he always hoped his son would grow out of his depression and anxiety problems.

"It got to where instead of saying, ‘Why not do this,' and ‘Why not do that,' to just feeling sorry for him,” Larry Underwood testified.

When FBI agents took his son away to question him about the disappearance of his 10-year-old neighbor Jamie Rose, Larry Underwood said he actually smiled because he knew his son was going to help if he could.

When he found out the grisly truth, the father said he couldn't believe it.

What did psychologist find?
There is no evidence to show Kevin Underwood was insane when he killed the child who lived upstairs from him, a forensic psychologist for the defense told jurors Tuesday afternoon.

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Kevin Ray Underwood is escorted into the courtroom Tuesday during the sentencing phase of his trial. BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN

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