Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Timothy Jones, Jr. was found guilty today of five counts of murder after he killed his children in 2014. The trial lasted more than three weeks with testimony from experts, family members, educators, law enforcement officers, and many others.
Jones’ attorneys had tried to prove to the jury that he was legally insane at the time of the killings. The jury didn’t agree and returned a verdict of guilty. They also could have found Jones guilty but mentally ill, not guilty by reason of insanity, or not guilty at all. Jones pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
The Lexington Ledger’s legal defense expert and adviser said several weeks ago that the Jones’ defense had a steep hill to climb. After killing the children, Jones had tried to hide his actions by driving around for some time with his children’s bodies in his car. He later dumped them in another state alongside a rural road. Those action seemed to indicate that he knew what he did was wrong, and he was trying to hide the crime.
Our defense expert said that Jones’ attorneys’ hope that the jury would return an insanity verdict was slim. The attorney argued vehemently that Jones had a documented history of mental illness and drug abuse. His defense team tried to prove that at the time of the killings, Jones was legally insane. Later, at some point, he could have come back to reality where he realized what he’d done and that it was wrong. Obviously, the jury of twelve didn’t see it that way.
Because the state is seeking the death penalty, this was just the first phase of the trial. Now that Jones has been declared guilty by the jury, there will be a sentencing phase where the same jury will decide whether Jones will die in prison or he will be put to death by the state. That portion of the process is set to begin just after 8:00 a.m. this Thursday. No one knows what punishment the jury will decide is appropriate for Jones. In the past, Lexington County juries have shown they have no problem condemning a convicted murderer to the most extreme punishment that the state can impose, death.