Despite Plea by Ex-Wife to Spare His Life, S.C. Man Who Killed Their 5 Kids Is Sentenced to Death
"He did not show my children mercy by any means, but my kids loved him," Amber Kyzer said of Timothy Jones
The South Carolina man who murdered his five young children was sentenced to death Thursday, according to multiple reports.
TV station WIS reports Timothy Jones was sentenced after being convicted of strangling and choking his five children to death, all of whom were under the age of 8.
The sentence came despite the plea from Jones’ ex-wife, who was the mother of the kids, to spare his life. The mom, Amber Kyzer, recalled the kids’ love for their father as her reason.
“If I could personally rip his face off, I would,” Kyzer said about Timothy Ray Jones Jr., who was found guilty on June 4 of the 2014 murders, reports local Columbia, South Carolina, TV station WIS. “That’s the momma bear in me. I do not wish on the Jones family what I felt losing my sons.”
She added: “He did not show my children 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 would have to say. I’m not here for me. The mom in me wants him to feel everything that I feel, that my kids felt.”
She told Jones in court: “Nothing justifies what you’ve done.”
Her appearance at the sentencing hearing as a character witness for Jones — after she’d earlier testified against him — was a surprise, according to WLTX.
“Amber, who are you here for?” defense attorney Boyd Young asked as Kyzer took the stand, reports The State newspaper.
“I’m here for my babies,” she answered.
“Did your kids love their dad?” Young asked her.
“Yes, they did,” she replied, before Jones’ attorney later asked her: “Do you want Tim put to death?”
“I personally, myself, can’t bring myself to want anybody to die,” she replied.
Jones, 37, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His lawyers argued at trial that he was teetering on the brink of madness partially due to a dependence on drugs — he told a forensic psychiatrist he smoked synthetic marijuana up to five times per day, reported The Post and Courier — and partially because Kyzer allegedly had left him for a 19-year-old neighbor.
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Following the couple’s contentious break-up, Jones, a college-educated computer software engineer, wound up with custody of all five children — three boys and two girls — because he could better support them on his $80,000-a-year salary, Kyzer earlier testified.
According to prosecutors, Jones killed the couple’s son Nahtahn, 6, after the boy broke an electrical outlet in their mobile home on Aug. 28, 2014. He then strangled his oldest child, 8-year-old daughter Merah, and his 7-year-old son, Elias, with his hands, they said.
Next, he wrapped a belt around the necks of his 2-year-old son, Gabriel, and his youngest child, 1-year-old Abigail, and ended their lives, prosecutors say, reported Fox News.
After stuffing their bodies in garbage bags, he loaded their remains into his Cadillac Escalade and drove for days through four states, sleeping in his SUV with the decomposing bodies in the back, before dumping them in a desolate part of Camden, Alabama.
He was arrested Sept. 6, 2014, at a police checkpoint in Smith County, Mississippi, 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.
During police questioning, Jones admitted to killing his kids but claimed he did so in preemptive self-defense before the children could “chop him up and feed him to the dogs,” according to his arrest warrant, according to the newspaper.
Jurors who convicted him rejected the insanity defense.
If only one juror had voted to recommend a life sentence, he would have been spared the death penalty.
The State reports Jones did not visibly react as the death sentence was read.