The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein



Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Stranger Next Door

I was checking crimelibrary.com for Steve Huff's entry on the Kevin Underwood, perverted murderer story, wanting to read it without having to await his announcement of it being up... (I know I have no patience as all...) but instead of finding the desired story I stumbled upon this one: Krystal Dawn Steadman.

I sometimes believe that I have lost the ability to know just when I shouldn't click some links. Because, instead of continuing my search for Steve's entry, I became captivated by the image of the pretty little blond girl show beside the link to the Thomas Soria story, and couldn't help but click that link.

The story begins by placing you inside a church, surrounded by people mourning the loss of a beautiful young girl... quoting some of the letters read during the nine year old's funeral. But it wasn't until the last paragraph that I really found myself at loss:

Krystal had the entire world at her fingertips, but it all came crashing down around her on March 19, 2000. Her death was no tragic accident or simple misfortune. She was murdered in cold blood in one of the most sadistic and horrifying manners humanly possible. Why? All for the simply satisfaction of one mans insatiable lust.


I spent the next hour reading the story, and searching it out even deeper... until finally I just couldn't stand it any longer, and had half a mind to return to my original intention of reading Steve's entry. This time, I made it all the way to the middle of the first page- of his post when I stopped.

It might be a good time to mention that I spent most of the day brushing up on slightly forgotten knowledge of Marquis de Sade, the gruesome madman condemned for his atrocious crimes during the late 1700's. He was what one could call the Lord of Sexual Perversions, both in real life, and in literature. He had what I can only begin to describe as the desires of the devil in him...

So now, sitting here- with the kids safely tucked into their beds, the lights turned out for the night, and a new episode of Law and Order flickering across the television- I can't help but compare the three stories I've read today. In honesty, it all did start with reading Kevin Underwoods blog, and the fact that he quoted the ever wicked Sade, as I mentioned here. But that's really neither here nor there now, because now I have the imagery in my head... and the connections between these stories will keep me from sleeping for quite a few nights... and honestly I can only blame myself for that. Like I said, somethings I am just compelled to click links I shouldn't.

The Marquis de Sade had a consuming lust for the most deviant of sexual perversions, it wasn't just that he was a rapist- as it was that he seemed to reach into the darkest pits of hell and conjure up the most devious methods of sadistic behaviors to implement upon his chosen victims. He was raised in a society filled with sexual debauchery, and his longing for the most extreme forms of sadism only grew in it's perversions as he got older. Even his stories were filled with vile descriptions of the most disturbing sexual encounters imaginable.

Thomas Soria, the man responsible for the death of nine year old Krystal Dawn Steadman was raised in a makeshift family, and was reportedly sexually abused as a child by a older step brother, Ronny. The step brother himself could easily be described as monster of the most heinous kind, having left a trail of victims of his twisted desires behind where ever he went. One of the more disgusting crimes committed by Ronnie was the brutal rape and murder of Thomas's mother.
Ronny decided to teach his stepmother a lesson. He entered the house and accosted Jayne before she knew what was happening. He quickly overpowered her and brutally raped her. Afterwards he bound her wrists behind her back with wire, then tied more wire from her neck to her ankles and placed her on the floor in such a position that if she dropped her legs, the wire would cut off her air supply. After approximately ten minutes of struggling to hold her legs up, she eventually became too tired to resist and died. Ronny stood by and watched the entire event. Afterwards he covered her head with a towel and walked out.

Thomas would later be the one to find his mother, dead and left bound on his bedroom floor. But even with those horrible images in mind, Thomas would evidently match his step brothers sadistic demeanor. He has been said to have carried on an extremely heinous cycle of sexual abuse with his son from a very young age which grew into sexual encounters involving the son and young girls his son dated... the terror inflicted by Soria would only come to an end the day his (then) teenage son was told to "bring him a girl" and returned to the apartment they shared with nine year old Krystal. Soria would torture, rape and kill the girl.
Clark testified that a series of seven stab and slash wounds to the right side of Krystal’s neck were the most fatal and that the fourth-grader from South Lake Tahoe bled to death. Clark also testified to bruising, sexual assault and added that Krystal’s arms and legs were likely bound with a tape-like substance. Wounds on the hands of the 52-pound girl reveal she fought back, the pathologist testified.

Soria then ordered his son to dispose of the lifeless body.

Krystal's fate was marked by chance that day, she hadn't known Soria's son, and didn't live in the apartment complex. She had only been there while her mother visited a friend. Krystal had started the day playing with two other young girls who knew the teenager who had begun to hang around them while they played, and while she continued to check in with her mother while they played- the girls returned to their homes during her last check in, and when she arrived back at the area they had been playing, Soria's son was waiting alone for her. His offer of candy to her, and her acceptance to return to his apartment with him would prove to be the stone that would put her in harms way.

And then, then there is Kevin Underwood. A seemingly boring person, one that wouldn't be likely to leave any sort of impression on those that briefly met him. No criminal record, quiet and withdrawn... the kind of person who easily fades into a crowd and out of mind. And yet the crime his is accused of is almost unspeakable. checking out the blogging world, more than one person comes to the conclusion that it's deviant nature is beyond comprehending. It's one of those news reports that I can read a hundred times, and still be as shocked and disgusted as I was the first time I read it.
Kevin Underwood, 26, a grocery store stocker in this small community 40 miles south of Oklahoma City, was arrested Friday. Investigators searched his apartment after he aroused their suspicions at a checkpoint, and found a large plastic tub in a bedroom closet. According to a police affidavit, he confessed that he killed Jamie Rose Bolin, telling FBI agents: "Go ahead and arrest me. She is in there. I chopped her up."

Jamie's unclothed body was inside the tub, along with a towel used to soak up blood, officials said. Police said that, while there were deep saw marks on the girl's neck, she had not been dismembered.
[...]
Authorities say they believe Kevin Underwood killed the girl Wednesday, when she disappeared after going to a library, by beating and smothering her.

Investigators found a meat tenderizer and barbecue skewers that he planned to use on the body, McClain County District Attorney Tim Kuykendall said.

Underwood didn't leave any difficulty in finding information on him, as I mentioned in my previously entry, he kept a rather uneventful blog, although knowing now what we do- the seemingly harmless jokes about cannibalism and his lengthy entries about his disappointing social abilities raise flags.

Sade, Soria, Underwood- they all had common characteristics. Sade may have been more prone to blatantly flaunt his sadistic behaviors, and Soria more time to inflict unimaginable harm on various victims- but the obvious progression of Underwoods perverse desires is in a league of it's own. Police say that he had been having disturbing fantasies for the last year... and even on a few occasions he mentioned (in his blog) that his fantasies are "getting weirder and weirder. Dangerously weird".

Sadly though, these men have more than just their twisted torture ridden desires in common. Sade openly solicited his victims, and even those who were slightly aware of his devious nature were taken to accept his company, Sorie's victims were usually brought to him by his son, and Underwood lived downstairs from Jamie Bolin. For years, we've loudly professed to our children to beware "stranger danger", to never talk to people they don't know, and to always tell an adult if someone they don't know tried to lure them away. What we often overlook is that most times... by the time the crime is committed, the "danger" no longer presents itself as a "stranger".

Soria's son had quickly befriends Krystal through the two young girls she was playing with- and had seemed harmless enough that she accompanied him back to his apartment of her own free will. Jamie had just used Underwoods phone the night before, he often chatted with her harmlessly, and he lived in the apartment below hers. She most likely never would have second thought it when he approached her that particular day- it's unlikely she would have even become alerted by it.

Last year, we all sat horrified that a stranger would come out of the night and murder three people- taking two children hostage for weeks of unimaginable torment. It shocked us into double and triple checking the locks on our doors at night... the thought of Joseph Duncan emerging from the black of night and committing the most gruesome of crimes was enough to remind the world of all the unknown dangers out there.

Soria and Underwood's stories should have the same reaction upon us- waking us up to the fact that those sadistic horrors could unfold at the hands of the stranger we know. That which we fear the most is not always lurking unknown in the shadows of night... somtimes it's right inside the next door.

FulviaLeopardi said...

Hope that I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the important news now is that Kevin Ray Underwood is a blogger.
I hate (but problably this is a problem of the Italian journalism) talk 'bout blog just for funny, or talk about blog like a "divertissment", or talking about blog like something "evil"!
I just don’t give a fuck (and I think that is the same for Jamie’s parents): Kevin Ray could be a national hero, but doesn’t change anything…or can you prove that I’m wrong?

lostinlimaohio said...

I don't think the fact that he kept a blog over shadows anything at all- I've read a good deal of it, and other than a few odd mentions of things, it really is uneventful- but I think I said that. It gave no warnings of what he was capable of, and excepting 20/20 hindsight- there's barely anything that could even cause one to raise an eyebrow at it.

You should notice that the other two vicious perverts mentioned in the entry had no connection at all to blogging, my point wasn't that he was a blogger- it was that he was a neighbor. He was they guy next door, not the villainous stranger we constantly warn our children about.

The victims of all of these men were lead to their gruesome deaths by someone that they "knew of" in sorted ways, that's what is so concerning.

FulviaLeopardi said...

I generally speak, not whit you particularly.
I search on googlenews kevin ray underwood and blog, and I find 1109 results: I am just surprised for the outcry, nothing else

Ps probably my English is not perfect, I to get out of speak and write English. Hope that you'll understand as much I understand you :)

lostinlimaohio said...

I understand what you are saying - both your point and your English.

I don't think the focus has drifted away from Jamie's murder- but I know that there is a good deal of attention being put on his blog... and I really believe that the reason behind that is this:

We read about such a horrifing story, and most of us just can not understand what could drive someone to commit such a heinous crime, we don't know what would cause a seemingly "normal" person to act out in such a shocking way. The fact that Underwood kept a blog, allows us to see a bit of small piece of what was going on in his mind for nearly two years. A lot of people are looking for that sign, for a hint of what lead to this- because right now, they have nothing to help explain why this terrible crime happened. Nothing telling them how it could have been prevented. And there is a very real need to somehow find an answer as to why this happened- first, because most of us can not grasp it, and second because we want to prevent it from ever happening again.