Jury Sentences Father to Death for Killing His 5 Children

Jury Sentences Father to Death for Killing His 5 Children
Defense attorney Casey Secor talks with Tim Jones during trial in Lexington, S.C. Timothy Jones, Jr., is accused of killing his five children in 2014. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP, Pool)

COLUMBIA, S.C.—A South Carolina father who killed his five children with his own hands, then drove around with their bodies for nine days was sentenced to death on June 13.

Timothy Jones Jr. showed no emotion as the jury delivered the verdict after less than two hours of deliberation. They also could have sentenced him to life without parole.

The same Lexington County jury convicted Jones of five counts of murder last week in the deaths of his children, ages 1 to 8, in their Lexington home in August 2014.

Rick Hubbard, 11th Circuit Solicitor, delivers closing arguments, pushing for the death penalty
Rick Hubbard, 11th Circuit Solicitor, delivers closing arguments, pushing for the death penalty during the sentencing phase of the trial of Timothy Jones Jr. in Lexington, S.C. on June 13, 2019. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)

Prosecutors pushed for a death sentence. Solicitor Rock Hubbard told jurors in his closing argument earlier Thursday that if any jurors had doubts whether Jones deserved the death penalty, all they need to do is consider the five garbage bags where he dumped their bodies in rural Alabama.

Jones, 37, has been selfish all his life, trying to break up his father’s second marriage because he wasn’t getting enough attention and controlling his wife’s every decision, Hubbard said.

When she left him, Hubbard said, Jones couldn’t stand that his control was over. With custody of his children, he mistreated any of them who showed any intention of wanting to be with their mother instead of him, Hubbard said.

Jones first killed 6-year-old son Nahtahn in a “white hot rage” after the boy confessed on the phone to his mother—but not to his father—to breaking an electrical outlet.

Tim Jones looks around the courtroom
Tim Jones looks around the courtroom during his trial in Columbia, S.C., on May 20, 2019. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)

Over the next several hours, Jones went and got cigarettes, taking his oldest daughter so she wouldn’t call for help, and leaving the three other kids with their brother’s body.

Then he made a decision, the prosecutor said.

“He’s done what you folks are going to have to do. He deliberated. ‘I am a one man jury and I have before me life or death.’ He sentenced his kids to death,” Hubbard said.

In a confession, Jones said he strangled 7-year-old Elias with his hands and chased down 8-year-old Merah before choking her. He then used a belt to choke 2-year-old Gabriel and 1-year-old Abigail.

That deserves death and not life, Hubbard said.

A life sentence “is just send Timmy to his room, make him think about what he has done” Hubbard said.

After killing the children, Jones loaded their bodies into his SUV and drove around the Southeast U.S. for nine days before dumping them in five black garbage bags on a dirt road near Camden, Alabama. He was arrested hours later after an officer at a traffic checkpoint in Smith County, Mississippi, said he smelled a horrible odor of decomposition.

Hubbard ended his closing argument with those bags. Prosecutors entered photos showing what was inside the bags into evidence, but didn’t show them to the jury. Jurors can choose to look at them during deliberations if they want.

“If you have any doubt for the appropriate sentence for that man, look in the bag!” Hubbard said.

The defense has focused on what his lawyers called undiagnosed schizophrenia made worse by drug and alcohol use. Jurors last week rejected their arguments that Jones was not guilty by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill.

The children’s mother also said she wouldn’t choose the death penalty for Jones because she’s against capital punishment, but would respect the jury’s decision.

Amber Jones cries from the witness stand while being questioned by 11th Circuit deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes
Amber Jones cries from the witness stand while being questioned by 11th Circuit deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes during the trial of her ex husband, Tim Jones, Columbia S.C., on May 20, 2019. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)

Amber Kyzer stunned the courtroom on June 11 by asking the jury to spare her ex-husband’s life.

“He did not show my children any mercy by any means. But my kids loved him and if I’m speaking on behalf of my kids and not myself, that’s what I have to say,” Kyzer said on the witness stand.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Suzanne Mayes she added, “I’ll respect whatever the jury decides.”

By Jeffery Collins

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