A judge imposed a gag order Tuesday in the gruesome slaying of a 10-year-old girl, who was killed in what authorities described as a man's plan to eat human flesh.
Special District Judge Gary Barger met with prosecution and defense attorneys in his chambers before signing an order prohibiting attorneys, investigators and law enforcement authorities from talking publicly about the case.
Defense attorneys said Tuesday they would seek such an order because officials had made "inflammatory, prejudicial and conclusory statements" to the media that had helped fuel widespread interest in the case. Prosecutors did not oppose the order.
Authorities believe Underwood killed Jamie Rose Bolin last week when she disappeared after going to a library. Her funeral was scheduled for Thursday.
Barger has entered a not guilty plea for Underwood, 26, a grocery store stocker who was arrested Friday and held without bail after drawing suspicion at a checkpoint set up near the apartment complex where he and the girl were neighbors.
Prosecutor Tim Kuykendall said he would seek the death penalty.
Authorities said Underwood led investigators to his apartment, where they found Jamie's body in a large Rubbermaid tub sealed with duct tape in his bedroom closet.
Authorities believe Underwood lured the 10-year-old into his apartment, beat her on the head with a wooden cutting board and suffocated her with his hands and duct tape.
Purcell Police chief David Tompkins said investigators believe Underwood sexually assaulted Jamie after he killed her and planned to eat the corpse. Meat tenderizer and barbecue skewers found in his apartment were intended for the little girl, Kuykendall said.
According to a police affidavit, Underwood confessed that he killed Jamie, telling FBI agents: "Go ahead and arrest me. She is in there. I chopped her up."
Police said that while there were deep saw marks on the girl's neck, she had not been dismembered.