Amber Kyzer, mother of five children murdered by their father pleads with jury to spare him death penalty – Social worker testifies Tim Jones Jr was compelled by chaotic upbringing, including three generations of rapes and voodoo rituals
Mother of five children killed by their father asks jury not to sentence him to death as social worker testifies about his chaotic upbringing including three generations of rapes and voodoo rituals
Timothy Jones Jr. has been convicted of five counts of murder for slaughtering his five children in Lexington, South Carolina back in 2014
The jury who found him guilty of slaying his children will now decide if he will face life in prison or the death penalty
His ex-wife Amber Kyzer stunned the courtroom on Tuesday when she took to the witness stand and asked the jury to spare Jones’ life
It came after social worker Deborah Grey testified for the defense about Jones’ chaotic upbringing
She detailed three generations of rapes, molestation by family members, gunshots, stabbings, drug deals, voodoo rituals and prostitution
Prosecutors said Jones was instead an evil, selfish father who killed Nahtahn in a rage and then the rest of his children because he wanted to deny his ex-wife custody
Both sides blame alcohol and drug use for the tragedy – Prosecutors said Tim Jones Jr used synthetic marijuana instead of caring for his kids
Defense are trying to show he struggled from un-diagnosed mental illness and cracked when he became a single father of five after his marriage failed
The children’s mother left him for a teenager who lived next door after she tired of Jones using religion to control what she wore and when she could leave their home.
Prosecutor Suzanne Mayes asked on cross-examination if sparing Jones’ life was just her [Kyzer’s], personal opinion. ‘Right. That’s why we have the jury,’ Kyzer said. Her testimony came after defense lawyers called social worker Deborah Grey to testify about his 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. Grey’s testimony during the sentencing phase of Jones’ trial was fiercely disputed.
She testified only after hours of argument over what she could and could not say. During the sentencing phase, the defense has wider latitude to try to show what might have led to the crime. 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.
During the sentencing phase, the defense has used wider latitude to try to show what might have led their client [white shirt] to the crime, emphasizing mitigating circumstances for his out of control rage
Defendant’s grandmother Roberta Thornsberry [photo], begged a jury not to avoid sentencing him to death for murdering her five great grandchildren
The defendant’s dad, Timothy Jones Sr., cried during testimony on Monday
Grey started with Jones’ grandmother, who was raped by her stepfather and gave birth at age 12 to Jones’ father. The chaos extended to Jones’ parents. His mother had schizophrenia and went into a mental institution when Jones was 3. She spent decades there. Her psychiatric records showed she told doctors her father molested her and locked her in a closet with a dead chicken dripping blood on her as part of a voodoo ritual, Gray said.
When the social worker began to testify about a stillborn infant birthed by Jones’ mother that the family said appeared to be part of a self-induced abortion attempt. However, Circuit Judge Eugene Griffith stopped her before she could give details.
Griffith frequently told Grey ‘move along’ or ‘keep moving’ when she tried to go into details about Jones’ family.
Tuesday marked the fourth week of testimony in Jones’ trial.
Jones’ lawyers are trying to show he struggled from un-diagnosed mental illness and cracked when he became a single father of five after his marriage failed.
His wife left him for a teenager who lived next door after she tired of Jones using religion to control what she wore and when she could leave their home.
Jones said in a confession he felt his 6-year-old Nahtahn was trying to attack him by conspiring with his ex-wife, and he exercised the boy until he collapsed and died after he broke an electrical outlet
Tim Jones Sr., took off his shirt [right], to show jurors his back tattooed with the faces of all of his five murdered grandchildren, on Monday
The murder spree began with six-year-old Nahtahn [right] who his father said made him ‘snap’ because he broke an electrical outlet. Merah the the oldest child watched as her father killed her seven-year-old Elias [left]
Jones then used a belt to strangle his youngest children, one-year-old Abigail [left] and two-year-old Gabriel [right]
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. Prosecutors said Jones was instead an evil, selfish father who killed Nahtahn in a rage and then the rest of his children because he did not want his ex-wife to have them. Both sides have blamed alcohol and drug use for the killings. Prosecutors said Jones used synthetic marijuana instead of caring for his kids. Defense lawyers said Jones used drugs to try and treat his un-diagnosed schizophrenia but it made the mental condition worse. Jones was only doing what he saw his father and grandmother and their families do all their lives – self-medicate to deal with what seemed like an endless barrage of sadness and anger, Grey testified. ‘They have been through a lot. But there’s a lot of love and a lot of caring between these folks,’ Grey said.