Timothy Ray Jones Jr., the former father of five accused of killing his children, is up for the death penalty. Jones was arrested in Mississippi last September and extradited to his home in South Carolina to stand trial.
A grand jury indicted Jones in February for five counts of murder. Four of his children, ages 8, 7, 2, and 1, allegedly died “by means of strangulation and/or other violent means or instruments.” The fifth child, age 6, was killed by “hitting or striking…causing physical exhaustion, but mortally injuring or causing injuries…by means or instruments unknown and/or by unknown means of a wanton or reckless disregard for human life.”
As WSFA reports, Jones, now 33, appeared in a Lexington County court where Solicitor Donnie Myers served notice of intention to seek the death penalty.
The FBI has aided state authorities with the case.
Jones and his wife Amber suffered an “especially bitter divorce” in 2012, the New York Times states.
Jones then began seeing a therapist who described him as a “highly intelligent, responsible father,” the Times added. Jones was an engineer with Intel.
NBC News describes that, in the months leading up to the murders, Jones was investigated twice for child abuse, and that his ex-wife reported domestic abuse to caseworkers but decided not to seek help.
Jones told investigators that he feared his children were “going to kill him, chop him up and feed him to the dogs.”
A caseworker investigating Jones wrote in his file, “Dad appears to be overwhelmed as he is unable to maintain the home but the children appear to be clean, groomed, appropriately dressed.”
Jones, who lived in South Carolina at the time of the murders, dumped the five bodies near Camden, Alabama, almost 400 miles away, and was then arrested at a vehicle checkpoint in Smith County, Mississippi.
As WISTV reports, Jones seemed to be on drugs at the Mississippi checkpoint. His Escalade was “blood soaked” and “smelled of death.” NBC News adds that authorities found large amounts of blood in the SUV, and “hand written notes with directions to kill and mutilate bodies.”
NBC notes that Jones was jailed several years ago on multiple accounts, and released in 2003.