August 17, 1979
Charles "Red" Underhill
Scans of original transcript
Webmaster note:Directly after the testimony of Helena Stoeckley on August 17, 1979, six witnesses testified on voir dire, in the absence of the jury and alternates, per the bench discussions shown at the end of Stoeckley's testimony. Charles Underhill was the third of these witnesses to testify.
D I R E C T E X A M I N A T I O N 2:20 p.m.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Mr. Underhill, were you living in Nashville in late 1970?
A Yes, I was.
Q Did you know Bonnie Hudgins, a lady now known as Jane Zillioux, and Helena Stoeckley?
A Yes, sir; I did.
Q Did you have an occasion in late 1970 to go to Helena Stoeckley's apartment where she was living?
A Yes, I did.
Q Do you recall what month that was?
A It was in the month of December.
Q What happened when you got to the door of her apartment?
A Well, I just walked up and knocked on the door. After I had knocked -- of course, this was like in the same second, really, or two seconds, and I heard someone crying -- more or less, just into a hysterical sob instead of a normal cry. I asked, "Helena?" The voice that came back was, "Get away."
I asked again -- I said, "Helena, is that you in there crying?" She said, "Get away. I don't want to see you or nobody," so I said, "Well, I will go down and get Bonnie and she can come down here and maybe straighten you out."
She said, "Who is it?" I said, "It is Underhill." She said, "Red?" I said, "That is right. I am going to get Bonnie," which the lady had been working with her and helping her along and so forth. Then, she said, "Wait a minute. Don't go get Bonnie. I will let you in," which she came to the door and unlocked the door and I walked in -- the first and only time I have ever been in her apartment.
I asked her -- I said, "What in the world is wrong with you carrying on like this -- something happen to you? What is wrong? Tell me." She just started sobbing worse and just terrible. The next thing that came from her mouth was, "They killed her and the two children." I said, "What is wrong with you, you goofy fool, are you on dope or something?"
Q What did she say?
A And then, at that minute, she reversed it for some reason -- why, I don't know -- and said, "They killed," and sobbing just hysterically at the same time getting these words out, "they killed the two children and her," so it is stated one way and then reversed. I said, "Ah, you are just as goofy as hell. Something is wrong with you, so I am going to get Bonnie right now, and Jane, and see if they can't take you somewhere or do something for you or help you or do something." She begged me not to go get them, so I just left and went across the street where Jane was living and told Jane -- I said, "She is over there crying and screaming and carrying on. You better go check on her or something." That is the end of that situation.
Q All right, did you ever find out from her about what woman and two children she was talking about?
A Well, I never did ask her as to names -- what could be the names of these two people, just where they lived, or whatever, I never did ask her those questions.
Q Did she indicate where they took place?
A Only North Carolina is the only thing she said -- did not name a city -- just North Carolina.
MR. SEGAL: cross-examine?
C R O S S - E X A M I N A T I O N 2:24 p.m.
BY MR. BLACKBURN:
Q Mr. Underhill, I believe you testified that she was crying hysterically; is that correct, when you saw her?
A Right. You are correct.
Q Do you know whether or not she was on drugs or anything like that?
A Well, I don't fool with drugs. I wouldn't give you a dollar if this room were full of them. I don't fool around with drunkards, liars, and dopeheads, and stuff of this nature; so naturally, whether she could be on drugs or not, I would not know because I am not qualified to know.
Q She was not in a calm state of mind?
A Well, whatever had got her in the state of crying or whatever had built -- got her built up to get in this state, I don't know.
Q Is it correct to say that what she told you was that, "They killed her and the two children," and that, "They killed the two children and her," is that correct?
A That is correct.
Q And that this took place in North Carolina?
MR. BLACKBURN: No further questions.
MR. SEGAL: Thank you, Mr. Underhill.