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. On the first Mother's Day after Jamie died, Fox made a pendant displaying Jamie's cherubic young face. She wore it around her neck throughout the trial. And as the verdict was read aloud Friday, Fox lifted the pendant to her lips and whispered, "This is for you, Jamie.” She said while the guilty verdict won't bring her granddaughter back, "it will send a message to other predators. If you stalk our children, the state will hunt you down like a rabid dog. And you'll be put down like a rabid dog.”
Closing argumentsBefore the 20-minute deliberation, District Attorney Greg Mashburn told jurors in his closing argument that it would probably take them longer to pick a foreman than it would to find the 28-year-old former grocery stocker guilty. The jury went out about 10:05 a.m. after closing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys. An announcement was made by 10:25 that there was a verdict. Before the deliberation, defense attorney Matthew Haire reminded the jurors of his promise before the trial started to be honest and fair and brief and to not dispute facts that are indisputable. But he also asked jurors to pay attention to what the defendant actually did, compared to "unrelated evidence,” such as what prosecutors said his plans were. Haire argued that several items entered into evidence, such as skewers, handcuffs, swords and adult toys and videos found in Underwood's apartment, were introduced for shock value and had nothing to do with the charge. And responding to previous testimony in which prosecutors hinted that Jamie could have still been alive during "several really horrible scenarios,” Haire said the facts were that Underwood confessed to how he killed her. "He suffocated her until she died,” Haire said. "Isn't that bad enough?” The question brought a furious response from Mashburn, who made the final argument. "Yeah, it's bad enough,” he yelled. "But that's not the whole story.” Slamming his pen down on a table, Mashburn's voice grew louder and angrier as he pointed toward Underwood. "He did more to her than what he told the cops.”
Trial continues next weekThe punishment phase of the trial begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty, and defense attorneys will argue that Underwood's life should be spared.
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Jennifer Fox and Curtis Bolin leave the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman on Friday after Kevin Ray Underwood was found guilty of the murder of their daughter, Jamie Rose Bolin. BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN