Underwood sentence hearing continues in Tifton - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Underwood sentence hearing continues in Tifton

By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

December 9, 2008

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Photographs of ransacked rooms, bullet holes and puddles of blood from a Norman Park mobile home helped prosecutors paint a vivid picture of what happened the deadly night of September 29, 2005.

A hundred more snapshots and cotton swabs from the scene were also presented before Superior Court Judge Gary McCorvey. Even the bats, guns and other weapons used to kill 6 Hispanic men and injure 6 others were logged into evidence; all while Jamie Underwood sat with little reaction.

"I noticed the back side was busted which was consistent with one of the statements of a victim who was assaulted with a guitar," said J. J. McMillen, a Colquitt Sheriff Investigator at the time of the crimes.

But the events from that night came to life the moment Emma Jean Powell, who drove the killers that night, took the stand. "Both of them has blood on them. And when Jennifer asked if you shot anybody, he said yeah," said Powell.

She told Tift District Attorney Paul Bowden it all began after she, Jennifer Wilson, Stacey Sims and Underwood met up at a Tifton Waffle House. All of them face charges in this crime. "Emma is not going to rob anyone. Did you hear anything that lead up to that comment? No," said Powell in response to Bowden.

Shortly after they all ended up in Underwood's car. "When you left the hotel who told you where to go? Jamie. When you got to an intersection who told you where to go? Jamie" said Powell in response to Bowden.

Powell and Wilson stayed in the car while Underwood and Sims hit several mobile home parks. "I saw Jamie with a bat going up and down. I never did see what he was hitting with the bat," said Powell.

Though Underwood pleaded guilty to murdering the six victims, Defense Attorney Dennis Francis says he doesn't deserve to be executed.

"The death penalty has to be the appropriate crime. It should only be used if there is no other punishment in our system that could either redeem or rehabilitate the person. And we don't think that's the case here," said Francis.

But the judge will make the final decision on whether Underwood lives or dies. Attorneys expect the death penalty hearing to last into next week. The other three defendants are awaiting trial. Stacey Bernard Sims could face the death penalty. Prosecutors will seek life sentences for Jennifer Wilson and Emma Powell.

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