LEXINGTON, S. C. – A South Carolina man accused of killing his five children will use an insanity defense in his upcoming death penalty trial, his lawyers say.
News media report that attorneys for Timothy Ray Jones Jr., 36, prosecutors have notified of their intention for his trial, which is set to begin October 15 in Lexington County.
His lawyers have long suggested that Jones suffered from mental problems. The children’s mother said he had been smoking synthetic marijuana and that she repeatedly tried to warn social workers that he was a danger to them before they were killed.
Authorities say the father killed his children at his Lexington home in August 2014, after picking them from school and childcare. At the time that their mother, Amber Jones, life was separated from him due to marital problems. Six days later, she reported them missing, and authorities began a search.
The police found Jones in Mississippi, where he was stopped for driving under the influence. In his vehicle, the officials a “large amount of blood and handwritten notes with directions” on how to kill and mutilate bodies. Authorities determined that he had driven around the south-East for nine days with their bodies in plastic garbage bags.
Jones later led police to a hillside in a rural area near Camden, Alabama, where he remains.
Court records four of the children – Merah, 8; Elias, 7; Gabriel, 2; and Elaine, 1 – were strangled. Nahtahn, 6, was beaten to death. Jones told investigators he believed his children planned to kill him and then chop him and feed him to the dogs.”
Amber Jones is suing the state Department of Social Services, the state agency failed to safeguard her children, despite repeated reports that Jones was a danger for them. She has also filed a second lawsuit seeking damages from Lexington County retailers, alleging they sold him the synthetic marijuana product that he was under the influence of when he killed the children.