Luling stabbing leads to murder charge

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bridge City suspect ‘didn’t cover his tracks well,’ sheriff comments


Managing Editor

HAHNVILLE — An arrest was made in Houston of a 31-year-old Bridge City man for the stabbing homicide of James Underwood of Luling.

Jason Pfeil, of 1900 Bridge City Ave., had been sheltering at the residence of Underwood following Hurricane Katrina, according to St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg C. Champagne.

Pfeil will now face a charge of first-degree murder in Hahnville.

Underwood, 41, was found stabbed in the bathroom of his residence at 324 River Oaks Drive Luling, on Sept. 22.

Champagne said that neighbors alerted the sheriff’s office that they had not seen Underwood since Sept. 6 and were concerned.

A witness told investigators they had seen Pfeil leaving the house in Underwood’s black 1996 Dodge pickup.

“We don’t want to say who,” Champagne said.

When Pfeil was arrested by Houston police, at a construction site where he had found work, he was found to still be in possession of Underwood’s truck.

Champagne said the two men apparently met at an alcohol abuse class which Underwood, a recovering alcoholic himself, had been leading.

“I knew him only slightly,” the sheriff added of the victim, who was also an employee of Cytec Industries in Waggaman.

After the stabbing, with multiple wounds, Champagne said “there was a lot of blood, and there was some effort made to mop it up.”

He did not indicate how many wounds Underwood had received or where.

“I don’t know a lot about the motivation,” Champagne continued.

Deputies located an unsecured rear door and found Underwood on the floor in a bathroom.

He had apparently been dead for eight to 10 days, judging from the rate of decomposition.

Champagne said Pfeil “didn’t cover his tracks well” and locating him was not difficult. He declined to say exactly how Pfeil was located.