EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 18, 2013

Calif. killer awaiting trial in 1988 Andover rape case armed himself at Middleton Jail


“For two years I sat there ... I didn’t have a luxury of leaving in 30 days,” Underwood, who speaks with somewhat of a southern accent, told Lu. Underwood is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.

Underwood said he’d previously asked why he was being held in a county jail and not a state prison.

“When I finally did something stupid ... I get put in the state prison system,” said Underwood, adding he’s been wrongly portrayed a Black Nationalist and a convicted rapist in the media.

Underwood was convicted of killing two young women in California in 1991.

“I know how to be respectful. Most correction officers would tell you I know I how to be respectful,” Underwood said.

Despite strong warnings, Underwood is being allowed to defend himself at trial. In response to questioning from Lu, Underwood said he has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and earned Cs and Bs as grades.

Lu spoke frankly to him yesterday, saying “the idea of representing yourself is a terrible idea.” He added that even an experienced trial lawyer shouldn’t represent himself in court and strongly advised Underwood against doing so.

“How do you feel about that?” Lu then asked.

“I’d like to represent myself,” replied Underwood, without hesitation.

Underwood was also in court yesterday to argue a motion to dismiss. He claimed grand jurors who handed down indictments against him were told he was previously convicted of rape. He said he was not.

“I have a right to an unbiased grand jury,” said Underwood, after a lengthy and somewhat scattered legal argument to Lu.

MacDougall fired back that grand jurors were never told Underwood was convicted of rape. She added all of the evidence presented to grand jurors was “carefully sanitized.”

“There was more than ample probable cause for the indictments,” MacDougall said.

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