Since his arrest in April 2006, Kevin Ray Underwood has become notorious for his detached demeanor, and perpetual lack of emotion. But as the 28-year-old man watched his father struggle to keep his composure in the witness stand Tuesday morning while talking about his dreams for his son, the convicted killer reached slowly for a tissue and began to wipe his reddening eyes.
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, who has previously been described as a cold, silent father figure whispered. "I didn't tell him enough."
Larry Underwood told jurors that he didn't know if it was that he was 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.
The father recalled one incident that had haunted him, when he got frustrated with his son after a T-ball game, and had been in the outfield "fooling around" during a game.
"I said, 'Kevin, if you didn't want to play, then why did you join?'" Larry Underwood recalled. "And he said 'I done it for you, Dad.'"
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.
He expressed pride when he talked about Kevin Underwood's grades and work ethic, and the fact that the younger Underwood didn't 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 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin, 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 could not believe it.
Earlier in the morning, jurors heard testimony from Underwood's aunts, who described him as an awkward and socially inhibited young boy, who never got any better as he grew older.
Gayle Coburn, Kevin Underwood's aunt from Emporia, Kan., testified that her nephew was always on the fringes, even when his cousins were playing.
"He was always reaching out wanting to play but not able to take the next step," Coburn said.
She recalled a trip she planned for Kevin Underwood to go to the Natural History Museum to look at dinosaurs, but said her nephew refused to go at the last minute.
"He said there would be a lot of people there," she recalled, adding that Kevin Underwood was always worried people would think he was weird or different.
"He was different," she said.