Jury selection under way in murder trial

Tuesday, February 19th 2008, 11:11 am
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

Norman, Okla. -- At 9:30 a.m., juror selection began in Norman in the first-degree murder trial of Kevin Ray Underwood. The 28-year-old Underwood is charged with the murder of Jamie Rose Bolin, a 10-year-old Purcell girl, in April 2006.

The state is seeking the death penalty. The trial was moved from Purcell to Norman, because of pretrial publicity. Early on in the case, law enforcement officials publicly claimed that Underwood planned to dismember and cannibalize the girl after killing her. Approximately 135 potential jurors will be questioned as to whether they have been influenced by those statements.

The jury pool is being divided into nine separate groups for questioning. Some will be questioned Tuesday and some later in the week.

The questioning will take place not in open court, but in the judge's chambers; with only the judge, the attorneys and the defendant present.

Besides the issue of pretrial publicity, the potential jurors will also be questioned about their attitudes toward the death penalty.