South Carolina man who killed his five kids and drove their bodies around for a week faces death penalty
A South Carolina father is about to stand trial for his life after he allegedly killed his five young children in their family residence before driving their bodies around for more than a week. The jury selection for Timothy Jones Jr.'s death penalty case is scheduled to commence on Monday in Lexington County, WJCL reports.
According to indictments, Jones is charged with five counts of murder for taking the lives of his children, aged eight, seven, six, two and one, in August 2014.
Jones strangled four of his kids and beat the other to death before wrapping their bodies in plastic bags. He then stuffed them in the back of his SUV and drove them around the Southeast for a week. Authorities said he logged more than 700 miles through North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi — where he was finally arrested.
Police said Jones buried his children on a rural hillside near Camden during his trip. His subsequent arrest at a checkpoint in Smit County, Mississippi, was dramatic. According to reports, Jones was forced to stop at the drunken driving checkpoint when an officer smelled a terrible odor coming from the SUV. Upon probing further, the officer found blood, maggots, and children's clothes inside the vehicle.
Now, lawyers representing Jones have filed court papers saying the man is planning an insanity defense. The 37-year-old software engineer was granted custody of his children after his marriage broke down.
According to records from the Department of Social Services (DSS), the computer engineer struggled as a single father. However, he diligently worked to correct the problems pointed out to him by social workers whenever they visited his home.
DSS records show the family's visits to Disney World, to the beach, and also a birthday party. One of the children were marked alongside a report stating they were made to exercise excessively as a discipline.
The caseworker at the time, whose name was blacked out, wrote in a report filed two weeks before the police announced the children's deaths: "Dad appears to be overwhelmed as he is unable to maintain the home, but the children appear to be clean, groomed and appropriately dressed."
If Jones is s found guilty of murder, the presiding jury will hear testimony on whether he should be given the death penalty or sentenced to life in prison. The trial continues.