A grocery store stocker accused of killing a 10-year-old girl appeared mild and polite during his first court appearance, but there was loud hostility outside the courtroom over the allegations that the suspect had planned to eat the girl’s corpse.
While Kevin Ray Underwood, 26, was arraigned Monday on a first-degree murder charge, a man in the hallway outside the courtroom yelled “Let’s string him up! Let’s string him up! Baby killer! Hang him!”
The man, identified as Bruce Schwartz, 48, was led away by police and arrested on complaints of obstructing an officer and obstructing the peace. There was no immediate indication if he had any connection to the victim’s family.
“It’s kind of expected,” Police Chief David Tompkins said. “Frustrations are high, and some people just can’t control it.”
‘Go ahead and arrest me’
Authorities believe Underwood lured the 10-year-old into his apartment, beat her on the head with a wooden cutting board and suffocated her with his hands and duct tape.
Tompkins said investigators believe Underwood sexually assaulted Jamie after he killed her and planned to eat the corpse. Meat tenderizer and barbecue skewers found in his apartment were intended for the little girl, Kuykendall said.
According to a police affidavit, Underwood confessed that he killed Jamie, telling FBI agents: “Go ahead and arrest me. She is in there. I chopped her up.”
Police said that while there were deep saw marks on the girl’s neck, she had not been dismembered.
Suspect's mother in disbelief
In a brief, tearful telephone interview with The Associated Press, Underwood’s mother was in disbelief and horror over the accusations.
“This is something that I don’t know where it came from,” said Connie Underwood. “He was always a wonderful boy.
“I would like to be able to tell her family how sorry we are. I just feel so terrible.”
Underwood’s parents have visited him in jail, with the conversation ending in tears, Tompkins said.
“It seemed to help the family out a lot and help Kevin out a lot,” Tompkins said. “Kevin realizes he has done wrong.”