Timothy Ray Jones, Jr. stands trial in Lexington County, South Carolina in the murders of his five children. Prosecutors say he strangled to death 1-year-old Abigail Elizabeth Jones, 2-year-old Gabriel Jones, 7-year-old Elias Jones, and 8-year-old Merah Gracie Jones. 6-year-old Nahtahn Jones was beaten to death.
The crime allegedly occurred sometime around Aug. 28 and 29 of 2014, according to the indictment obtained by Law&Crime. The defendant put his children in plastic bags and buried them in Alabama, authorities said. Jones was only arrested after he was stopped at a DUI checkpoint the following Sept. 6. He allegedly led investigators to the bodies three days later.
“I really miss them,” the mother Amber Jones told WIS. “They were good kids, and I truly wonder what they would be like now.”
NEW TRIAL TUESDAY – SC v #TimothyJones. The @LawCrimeNetwork will bring you gavel-to-gavel coverage with live streaming and legal analysis. Jones charged with the murder of his five children. Opening statements Tuesday afternoon. pic.twitter.com/nXnJCmvThU
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) May 13, 2019
Timothy Jones filed for divorce in 2013 and won custody of the kids, but in the lead-up to the deaths there were allegations that Jones physically abused them, according to The Daily Beast. Claims involved him abusing them with excessive exercise, beating them with belts, choking at least one, and bruising the children.
Amber Jones sued the South Carolina Department of Social Services in 2016, arguing that the agency failed to protect the kids from their father despite the warning signs.
Court records reportedly show that Timothy Jones’ criminal defense is going to put on an insanity defense. The defendant allegedly told investigators that he murdered his children because they were “going to kill him,” according to NBC News.
[Mugshot via Lexington County Sheriff’s Department]