A South Carolina man is on trial for killing all five of his kids, saying voices in his head told him to do it, prosecutors say
In the terrifying moments before an enraged South Carolina father killed his 6-year-old son and 8-year-old-daughter, the little girl’s last words were “Daddy, I love you,” authorities claim.
Timothy Jones, Jr., 37, allegedly went on to kill his other three young children on August 28, 2014, he told authorities in a 45-minute audio recording after his arrest, FBI Agent David Mackey testified at Jones’ trial in Lexington County, which began May 14, local station WCSC reports.
Jones is facing the death penalty for killing his five children and driving hundreds of miles with their bodies in his SUV for a week before disposing of their bodies in Alabama.
On Tuesday, jurors learned that Jones Googled the words “missing children Tim Jones” and “American History X rape scene” in the days after he killed the children, local station WLTX19 reports.
Charged with five counts of murder, Jones’s defense has conceded that he killed the children and said in opening statements that he was an undiagnosed schizophrenic at the time of the murders.
Jones has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Prosecutors say otherwise.
“He’s not insane,” Deputy Solicitor Shawn Graham said, The State reports. “He’s a murderer. A father is supposed to protect his children.”
During the trial, jurors heard how Jones, a college-educated computer software engineer, ended up with custody of all five of his children after a contentious divorce from his ex-wife, Amber Kyzer, The State reports.
On the night of the murders on August 28, 2014, Jones told investigators how he grew angry when his son, Nahtahn, 6, blew four outlets in their mobile home, The State reports.
“You could have killed yourself, son!” he told the boy, prosecutors say, The State reports.
After forcing the boy to do push-ups and other exercises for hours as punishment, Jones told authorities he found the child “deceased” when he went to check on him later that night.
Saying he heard “voices” directing him to kill his other children, Jones went on to strangle Elias, 7, then Merah, 8.
“He chokes his son to death and his son struggles as he’s being strangled,” Mackey testified, WSCS reports. “Next he goes to his daughter, Merah Gracie and he kills her in the same manner. According to Mr. Jones, before he strangled her, Merah said, ‘Daddy, I love you.’”
Jones used a belt to strangle his two youngest children, Gabriel, 2, and Abigail, 1, Mackey testified.
“He said basically his hands were too big to strangle the smaller children,” he testified.
After stuffing their bodies in garbage bags, he loaded their remains into his Cadillac Escalade and drove for days through four states, sleeping in the SUV with his children’s bodies in the back, The State reports.
Finally, he dumped his children’s badly decomposed bodies in a desolate part of Camden, Alabama.
On Sept. 6, 2014, he was arrested in Smith County, Mississippi, at a DUI checkpoint after an officer detected what he described on the stand as “the smell of death” in Jones’ SUV — along with blood, maggots and synthetic marijuana, officials said, The State reports.
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He had taken the children to the beach and to Disney World at some point before the murders, prosecutors say, The State reports.
Jones’s attorneys did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.