A jury on Thursday handed down the death penalty to Timothy Jones Jr., the South Carolina father who murdered his five young children in 2014. The jury unanimously agreed on the death sentence for the 37-year-old Jones in the slayings of his children, ages 1 to 8.
Jones was found guilty earlier this month of brutally killing his children, and then driving their bodies around for more than a week. Jones admitted that he killed his 6-year-old Nahtahn by forcing him to exercise until he collapsed and died, then decided to kill the other four children. His defense argued that at the time of the murders, Jones, an Intel computer engineer and devout Christian, suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness that was made worse by the use of synthetic marijuana.
Amber Kyzer, the mother of the five children, shocked the courtroom on Tuesday when she asked the jury to spare her ex-husband of the death penalty. Kyzer left her ex-husband for a teenaged neighbor, after she says the strictly religious Jones had become unbearably controlling over her and the children. “He did not show my children any mercy by any means,” Kyzer said on the witness stand. “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.” South Carolina has not executed an inmate since 2011.