How's it feel? ...I just wish they were all here to see it. ...Maybe we should just shake hands and forget about it. That's what you used to say, right?!
Underwood to Harold Ramsey

Ronald James Underwood is an "injustice collector"-type serial-turned-spree killer and stalker who appeared in Bully.


Little is known about Underwood's personal life, other than he was born in 1991, lived with his alcoholic divorced mother, and spent his time online, usually at pornography or mixed martial-arts sites. During his teenage years, Underwood was a student at Jefferson High School in Kansas City, where he was excessively bullied by his peers, likely because of his weight and appearance. He only had one friend at school, named Riley Wilson, who had a 4.0 GPA and was also bullied for being "a nerd". One day, on May 2009, Riley was ambushed by several of his bullies in the gym lockers, being forced to wear nothing but women's underwear and wander around the school in it. Dozens of students had been called over by the bullies outside of the gym lockers, and there, they all laughed at Riley as he made his way past them. Underwood was among the students, but he was unable to intervene, likely out of fear of being bullied himself. Several teachers were also present at the scene, but their response to the incident was inadequate and the bullies were let off the hook.

Later on that same month, in response to the excessive bullying, Riley committed suicide by crashing his vehicle into a utility pole. Devastated and enraged by the loss of his only friend, Underwood left Jefferson High and formulated a revenge scheme against those instrumental to the bullying in the gym locker. On December 18-19, 2012, he snapped and attacked two random students currently attending Jefferson High, Tommy Barnes, and Melissa Hawthorne, blitz-attacking them in an alleyway and killing both before putting Tommy in Melissa's underwear. However, the both of them fought back before being killed, which intimidated Underwood and prompted him to spend the following year shaping his physique and taking steroids in order to ensure that his future victims wouldn't fight back. In 2013, Underwood put in motion his scheme of seeking revenge against those involved in the bullying at the gym locker, killing David Morrison, a substitute teacher who was there at the time of the gym locker incident but failed to respond appropriately to the situation.


Underwood sets his sights on Laurie Patterson, the girlfriend of Lance Tate, a bully who was responsible for calling the other students outside the gym locker. However, he finds that she is out of the state, attending the University of Missouri, so he breaks into the old Patterson home and kills her parents to maximize her punishment for her involvement. Then, he targets a bully named Charles Gates (who was involved in the locker incident), entering his home, only to find him being interviewed by Detective Scott Miller. Upon hearing Charles describe himself as a friend of Riley's, Underwood bursts inside the room and beats Scott unconscious in a fit of rage before killing Charles. He then flees the house, taking Scott's pistol with him. Then, he sets his sights on Harold Ramsey, a teacher who failed to respond to the locker incident, attacking him in his car while he is being contacted by Blake. Underwood takes Harold to Jefferson High, where he continues beating him inside the gym locker, then places him in women's underwear. Then, he forces Harold to retrace Riley's steps while holding him at gunpoint with the pistol. When the two make their way up a staircase, they are confronted by the BAU and SWAT, who hold Underwood at gunpoint. Blake reasons with him, telling him that he has to let go of the past, and she mentions that they know his motivations: Riley. Underwood replies that Riley was his only friend before releasing Harold. Several SWAT agents then tackle him to the ground and arrest him as he screams out that they are hurting him.

Modus Operandi

Underwood usually targeted the students responsible for Riley's death as well as the teachers who failed to stop the bullying, but he also attacked other victims, such as current students of Jefferson High and the parents of victims he couldn't get to. He would stalk his victims (except for Tommy Barnes and Melissa Hawthorne, whom he attacked randomly), blitz-attack them, beat them with his bare fists, and choke them. His first three victims were killed outside of their homes, but after the murder of David Morrison, Underwood began entering their homes to kill them. His signature was undressing the victims completely and putting women's underwear on the male victims to reflect the aspect of Riley being put in women's underwear during the bullying at the gym locker. The male victims would have ladies' underwear put on them (if they were alone, he would bring the underwear, but if a woman was killed alongside him, her underwear would be used).

Most of the beatings were induced post-mortem, due to the fact that Underwood's excessive rage, coupled with his brute strength, quickly killed the victims. One victim, David Morrison, was attacked so brutally that he died from asphyxiation induced by a choke-hold before Underwood could even beat him. The exception to that is the attack on Tommy Barnes and Melissa Hawthorne; both were killed by quick blows to the head because Underwood was unable to simultaneously attack two victims at the time. During his attack on Harold Ramsey (apparently the major focus of his rage), he abducted him, took him to Jefferson High School, forced him to undress, put on women's underwear, and retrace Riley's steps while at gunpoint with a stolen Glock 19 pistol. For reasons unknown, he was always active during the month of December.


Based on the unsub's victims and local demographics, he is likely a Caucasian male aged in his teens-to-early 20s, who is a sadist with anger issues, which accounts for the high level of violence in his murders. All of his victims are in some way connected to Jefferson High School, meaning that he is either a former student or employee, having been kicked out because he has a drug problem. This addiction, plus his anger issues, indicates that he possibly lacks the social skills required to stay in school or hold down a steady job. Because brute force and humiliation are the hallmarks of his M.O., the killings are somehow rooted in revenge, possibly stemming from a traumatic humiliation of some degree that occurred in the recent past. This event likely happened to him when he was an adolescent, which makes this very personal to him. In addition, he is possibly a violent offender or an ex-convict. The murders of Tommy Barnes and Melissa Hawthorne were experiments of sorts, where he was getting the taste for it, but since it is difficult to blitz-attack two people at once (as Tommy and Melissa both had many defensive wounds), the unsub likely took a year off (through incarceration or other means) to perfect his M.O. to make sure that his future victims wouldn't fight back as Tommy and Melissa did. He is also physically fit and probably works out a lot, so he may frequent inexpensive gyms or health clubs. He uses his bare hands to kill his victims, so he will not be easily deterred, and as his grip on reality continues to fade, he will become more dangerous.

Known Victims

  • December 18-19, 2012: Tommy Barnes and Melissa Hawthorne (two Jefferson High students; both killed by blunt-force trauma; dressed Tommy in Melissa underwear's post-mortem; randomly attacked in an alleyway)
  • 2013:
    • December 9:
      • David Morrison (the substitute teacher who failed to stop the locker incident; beaten and killed by asphyxiation; dressed him in ladies' underwear post-mortem; attacked at a trail while jogging)
      • Lance Tate (one of the bullies responsible for the incident; intended to kill; abandoned the plan when he learned he was in Afghanistan)
      • Lance Tate's unnamed parents (intended to kill both; abandoned the plan when he learned they were living in another state)
      • Laurie Patterson (Lance Tate's ex-girlfriend; intended to kill; abandoned the plan when he learned she was at school in another state)
      • Gil and Renee Patterson (Laurie Patterson's parents; both beaten to death in their house with his bare fists; dressed Gil in Renee's underwear post-mortem)
    • December 10: The attack at Charles Gates's house:
      • Detective Scott Miller (incidental; beaten to unconsciousness with his bare fists, but left alive; also stole his gun)
      • Charles Gates (one of the bullies responsible for the incident; beaten to death in his home with his bare fists; dressed in ladies' underwear post-mortem)
    • December 10-11: Harold Ramsey (the teacher who failed to stop the incident; abducted from his car, beaten, intended to kill, and held at gunpoint; was rescued)


  • Ronald is similar to the following unsubs:
    • Robert Adams. Both were mission-oriented "injustice collector"-type serial killers who devolved, had M.O.'s that involved beating their victims and killing them through other means, targeted people that went to the same high schools as them, killed their victims out of revenge, and performed overkill.
    • Chris Shelton. Both were injustice collectors who targeted and killed their victims to avenge the deaths of someone who committed suicide after being bullied (Ronald wanted to avenge the death of his friend; Chris wanted to avenge his son).
    • Rodney Harris. Both were mission-oriented killers who beat their victims to death, had stressors that involved them and someone close to them being victimized, killed at least one victim for revenge, and had signatures that revolved around undergarments (Ronald put women's underwear on his victims, while Rodney pulled his victims' boxers down to their legs).