Psychiatrist: Child killer had sex disorders

March 5, 2008 8:13:45 PM PST
The man convicted of killing a 10-year-old girl as part of a cannibalistic fantasy "gave up on being normal" and was driven by deviant sexual disorders and a downward spiral of depression, a psychiatrist testified Wednesday. Dr. Martin Kafka, a clinical associate at Harvard Medical School, testified for the defense in the penalty phase of the trial of Kevin Underwood, 28, who has been convicted of first-degree murder for killing Jamie Rose Bolin.

A jury will decide whether Underwood should be sentenced to death or life in prison, with or without the possibility of parole. The girl's body was found in a plastic tub in Underwood's apartment, with her head nearly cut off.

Underwood said in a videotaped confession that he fantasized about torturing and killing a person and cannibalizing the body. No evidence has been presented that any cannibalism took place.

Kafka said Underwood suffers from a socially isolating personality disorder, a bipolar disorder and several sexual disorders. The psychiatrist spent several hours with Underwood in jail, reviewed interviews with friends and relatives and read his diaries and online journal.

"What came across in evaluating Kevin Underwood is his lifelong struggle to be normal and his complete inability to do that," Kafka said. "He just gave up on being normal."

Defense attorneys, arguing against the death penalty, say their client is mentally disturbed and out of touch with reality. Prosecutors have argued for the death penalty, citing the heinous nature of the crime and saying Underwood poses a continuing threat.

Under cross examination by district attorney Greg Mashburn, Kafka conceded: "If he walked out of here today, yeah, he'd be a danger. But we all know he's not walking out of here today."