Trial Set For Dad Charged With Killing 5 Kids, Driving Their Bodies Around For A Week
The children ranged in age from one to eight; the father's legal team is planning to use an insanity defense.
LEXINGTON, SC — A father accused of murdering his five young children and then driving their bodies around for more than a week is about to stand trial where, if convicted, he may receive a death sentence.
Timothy Jones, Jr., 37, is charged with five counts of murder in the August 2014 deaths of his children, who were ages eight, seven, six, two, and one. Police say Jones fatally strangled four of the kids and beat the other child to death in the family’s South Carolina home.
After reportedly killing the children, prosecutors allege that Jones wrapped their bodies in plastic bags, put the remains in the back of his SUV, and drove around with them for more than a week.
Jones allegedly transported the bodies more than 700 miles, through North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, where he is accused of burying the remains on a rural hillside near the city of Camden.
Police in Mississippi finally stopped Jones at a sobriety checkpoint in Smith County. Arresting officers reported a powerfully foul odor emanating from Jones’s SUV, and said they found blood, maggots, cleaning supplies, and children’s clothing in the back of the vehicle.
Jury selection in Jones’s trial began yesterday. Circuit Judge Eugene Griffith said he hopes to have the final jury members in place by Friday.
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty. Defense attorneys filed papers indicating that Jones will plead insanity.
The trial is expected to take up to a month. If the jury finds Jones guilty of murder, they will then hear testimony to determine whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or sentenced to death.
According to legal records, Timothy Jones, Jr., was a software engineer who won sole custody of his children after his wife left their marriage. Single fatherhood proved to be a challenge for him. Workers from the Department of Social Services visited the Jones home six times in three years.
One visiting social worker wrote of Jones: “Dad appears to be overwhelmed as he is unable to maintain the home, but the children appear to be clean, groomed and appropriately dressed.” That report was dated two weeks before the children were allegedly murdered.
Read more: ABC Columbia, WHNT, KTLA