The South Carolina father convicted of murdering his five children cried when footage of their memorial service was played during his death penalty hearing as his family members asked the jury to spare his life.
The same jury that convicted Timothy Jones Jr. of killing his five children in their Lexington home in August 2014 is set to begin deliberating on Thursday on whether he should be given the death penalty or life in prison.
During his hearing on Wednesday, Jones wiped tears away as defense attorneys played video for the jury of the memorial service held for his slain children in Mississippi.
Jones then told the judge he did not wish to testify or address the jury before they decide his fate.
Timothy Jones Jr. wiped tears away on Wednesday during his death penalty hearing as defense attorneys played video for the jury of the memorial service held for the five children he killed
The same jury that convicted Timothy Jones Jr. of killing his five children in their Lexington home in August 2014 is set to begin deliberating on Thursday on whether he should be given the death penalty or life in prison
In his confession to authorities, Jones admitted to killing his six-year-old son Nahtahn by exercising the boy to death as a punishment after he refused to admit he broke an electrical outlet.
Jones didn’t call 911 when he found his son dead and chose to watch a prison rape scene from a movie on his cellphone instead.
Several hours later, Jones said he decided to kill the other children, strangling 8-year-old Merah and 7-year-old Elias with his hands and using a belt to choke 2-year-old Gabriel and 1-year-old Abigail because his hands were too big.
He went on the run for several days with the bodies of his children in his SUV before dumping them in garbage bags on a hillside in Alabama.
The horrific details of the killings took a back seat on Wednesday as Jones’ two half brothers, his half sister and his stepmother all testified on his behalf for the defense.
The family members said Jones has much more to offer by being allowed to live out his life in prison than die at the end of a needle or in the electric chair. They testified he could teach other inmates like he guided them through complex subjects at school.
His two half brothers, Tyler and Travis Jones, both urged the jury to spare his life on Wednesday because the family had been through too much pain already following the death of the five children
Tim Jones, Sr., embraces his son, Travis Jones during the sentencing phase of Tim Jones Jr.’s trial in Lexington, South Carolina
And they all asked to spare Jones’ life because after all the pain they suffered when the children were killed five years ago they didn’t need any more.
‘Don’t take one more from us. Our family can’t take it,’ half brother Tyler Jones said.
Earlier in the week, Jones’ father asked jurors to spare his life and his ex-wife and the mother of the five slain children shocked the courtroom on Tuesday when she said she was against the death penalty.
Amber Kyzer took to the witness stand to ask for mercy for Jones for the sake of her slain children but said she would accept whatever the jury decided.
‘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,’ she told the court.
Her testimony came after defense lawyers called social worker Deborah Grey to testify about Jones’ chaotic upbringing, from how his father was born to a 12-year-old rape victim to how his mother said she was locked in a closet during a voodoo ritual.
She detailed three generations of rapes, molestation by family members, gunshots, stabbings, drug deals, voodoo rituals, prostitution, frequent screaming fights and cursing at children and how Jones’ mother dipped him in ice water baths and gave him laxatives to try to make him behave.
Defense lawyers displayed a chart with the Jones family tree that detailed a number of psychological issues that his relatives have dealt with over different generations.
Amber Kyzer, his ex-wife and the mother of the five slain children, shocked the courtroom on Tuesday when she said she was against the death penalty
Her testimony came after defense lawyers called social worker Deborah Grey to testify about Jones’ chaotic upbringing. Defense lawyers displayed this chart with the Jones family tree that detailed a number of psychological issues that his relatives have dealt with
Prosecutor Rick Hubbard pointed out that Jones excelled in school, overcame a drug conviction in the early 2000s and even with a wife and kids made it through college and into an $80,000-a-year computer engineer job.
While the defense is arguing that undiagnosed mental illness drove Jones to kill his children – a claim the jury has shown some skepticism about by deciding not to find him guilty but mentally ill or not guilty by reason of insanity – Hubbard and prosecutors said he was an evil, selfish man who made bad choice after bad choice.
Hubbard said Jones began doing drugs when his marriage broke up and chose to kill his children after finding one son dead so his ex-wife could not have full custody.
‘He chose to ignore pleas for mercy from his children as he was strangling them,’ Hubbard said.
None of the four family members who testified had much to say about the final year of the children’s lives. Jones stopped talking to them after a fight with his father over religion.
They all regretted how he seemed to deteriorate in isolation.
‘The man who did this is not the man who is sitting here right now. I’m sorry, Tim. I sit here and look at you and tell you that you aren’t all there any more, brother. I’m sorry you have to go through this too,’ said half brother Travis Jones.