NORMAN — While it only took about 20 minutes for jurors to decide that Kevin Ray Underwood was guilty of first-degree murder, for the family of the 10-year-old victim, that verdict was nearly two years overdue.
On an unusually hot mid-April afternoon in 2006, Jamie Rose Bolin sat on her downstairs neighbor's floor, sipping iced milk and playing with Underwood's white rat. Prosecutors — who will seek the death penalty — said she never saw the blow coming as Underwood picked up a heavy wooden cutting board, reared back and slammed it against the back of her skull before crawling on top of her and suffocating Jamie with his bare hands.
The descriptions of the things he then did with the young girl's lifeless body were even more savage — so much so that Jamie's uncle Mark Chiles couldn't remain in the courtroom as some of the graphic details were presented to Cleveland County jurors.
So when the guilty verdict was read aloud, and Underwood was shackled in the Cleveland County District courtroom, Chiles said family members breathed a collective sigh of relief as they were finally given a reason to hope that they might emerge from a two-year nightmare.
"It tickled me to death,” Chiles said Friday. "I would have liked to have seen him shackled the whole time. I didn't like seeing him being able to just walk around like a normal person.”
Chiles was absent Thursday when jurors watched a videotaped confession in which Underwood, 28, vividly described what he did to the girl, and told of fantasies and fetishes. Still, Chiles said he knows enough to consider Underwood an "animal.”
"I think he's happy with what he did,” Chiles said. "And if he ever got the chance he'd do it again.”
‘For you, Jamie'
Two years ago, Jamie's maternal grandmother, Rose Fox, said her faith would not let her support the death penalty — even for the man who killed her granddaughter.
But as she stood outside the steps of the courthouse Friday, after learning the details of Underwood's thoughts and actions, her belief system had been altered.
"There are monsters in human society,” she said.
She said Underwood stalked her granddaughter, and even though he knew what he was doing, he showed no mercy.
"When you have a predator, that predator needs to be taken out,” she said.
Fox said she's always been an overprotective mother figure, but for the last two years, as she tried to raise Jamie's 5-year-old half-sister, that trait has turned into paranoia.
Guest Book: Jamie Bolin