Purcell_A judge on Thursday took a jury's recommendation and sentenced a former grocery store stocker to death by injection for killing a 10-year-old girl in a cannibalistic fantasy.
McClain County District Judge Candace Blalock approved the death sentence for Kevin Ray Underwood in the killing of the man's neighbor Jamie Rose Bolin. Underwood, 28, showed no emotion when judge handed down the sentence.
Underwood's attorney, Matthew Haire, said he planned to appeal the sentence. Underwood was convicted last month of first-degree murder.
Linda Chiles, the slain girl's aunt, said the family is prepared for a long appeals process.
"We know that's going to happen, but this does create a lot of closure for us, that we don't have to come back for trial and don't have to sit in the courtroom with him," Chiles said.
The pain of Jamie's loss is still profound, Chiles said, especially with the second anniversary of her death just days away.
"I think about her all the time, and I'm sure everybody else does," Chiles said. "We all talk about her and joke about the cute things she used to do."
Prosecutor Greg Mashburn expressed relief that evidence presented at trial, including crime scene photographs and seized items including sex toys and weapons, can now be moved from his office.
"I don't have to stare at that disgusting stuff that jurors had to look at," Mashburn said. "It was a particularly troubling case to sit through."
During his trial, prosecutors played a videotaped confession in which Underwood told investigators he lured the girl into his apartment April 12, 2006, in Purcell, a small town about 35 miles south of Oklahoma City. He beat her over the head with a cutting board, suffocated her, sexually assaulted her and then tried to cut off her head with a decorative dagger.
Underwood told authorities he was fueled by sexual fantasies that involved torturing, raping, killing and eating his victim, although no evidence was presented that he cannibalized the girl's body.
Underwood's attorneys did not dispute that he killed the girl, and it took the jury less than an hour to convict him. His attorneys had argued, though, that his life should be spared because he suffered from mental illness that could be helped with medication.
Defense attorneys also said Underwood was bullied as a child and was emotionally and verbally abused by his parents.
Jamie lived with her father in an apartment upstairs from Underwood, and her disappearance prompted a statewide search. Underwood raised the suspicions of officers at a police checkpoint and he let them search his apartment, where they discovered the child's nude body stuffed inside a plastic tub in his bedroom closet.