Mother of five children murdered by their father asks court to spare his life
A horrific attack in August of 2014 saw five children taken from their mother. Having entrusted them to her husband following their divorce, Amber Kyzer is still coming to terms with the way in which they lost their lives. Meanwhile, one assumes, her ex-husband Timothy Jones Jr carries around an unbearable weight of guilt on his conscience.
Their six-year-old son Nahtahn died following an argument over a broken light fitting. When Nahtahn stated that he would rather go back and live with his mother, Jones believed the boy was conspiring against him with his ex-wife and forced him to exercise beyond a state on exhaustion.
According to prosecutors, Jones considered what to do for several hours after the boy's death - watching a prison rape scene from a movie and taking his oldest child with him while he bought cigarettes. The home, in South Carolina’s Lexington County, then became the scene of a further four murders.
He strangled 8-year-old Mera, 7-year-old Elias, 2-year-old Gabriel and 1-year-old Abigail. During his closing argument on Monday, prosecutor Rick Hubbard explained that, according to his own confession, Jones’ hands were too big to strangle the two infants. He therefore used a belt instead. Jones then drove around the southeast US for nine days with the bodies in his car. He dumped them on a hillside but was caught not long after due to the smell of decomposition coming from the SUV.
Despite this unthinkable set of actions from a man who was supposed to be their protector, his ex-wife Amber Kyzer has asked for leniency. “He did not show my children any mercy by any means,” she said yesterday, during Jones’ trial. “But my kids loved him and if I’m speaking on behalf of my kids and not myself, that’s what I have to say.”
Watch the shocking video below where Amber Kyzer asks for mercy for her children’s killer
To the stunned courtroom, she admitted that, at many points, she wanted to see him “fry”. However, Jones is believed to have had a troubled upbringing and a long family history of rape, abuse and mental health problems. Kyzer does not support the death penalty but said she would respect the decision made, acknowledging, “that’s why we have the jury."
The defence claimed Jones was suffering from undiagnosed mental health problems due to childhood trauma. A social worker called to give evidence told of three generations of gun and knife violence, drug dealing, prostitution, rape, molestation by family members and frequent curse-ridden screaming arguments involving children.
Punishments in Jones’ family often crossed over into abuse, with his mother having allegedly dipped him in ice baths and given him laxatives when he misbehaved. She was sent to a mental institution due to severe schizophrenia when Jones was three years old, remaining institutionalised for three decades.
The social worker’s testimony proved controversial in court and its inclusion was fiercely disputed by the prosecution. Nonetheless, it shed light on a troubling family history including, bizarrely, a small cupboard and a dead chicken dripping blood onto Jones’ mother - a voodoo ritual. The act was carried out by her father who, according to the same set of psychiatric records, would also molest her.
“I love him,” Jones’ grandmother, Roberta Thornsberry, stated in court on Monday, according to The State. Adding to the upsetting picture already painted by the social worker, Roberta Thornsberry was raped by her stepfather and gave birth to Jones’ father when she was just 12 years old. Testifying for the defence, she added, “our family’s been through enough. I don’t think we can take any more. This has broke us so bad.”
Jones’ father also testified, stating “I don’t want to hurt no more” and removing his shirt to show tattoos of his five late grandchildren. Jones’ ex-wife, Amber Kyzer, stated that he was a good father during their marriage and explained that the decision that their children would live with him was down to him being a computer programmer and earning much more than her.
The defence made the case that he cracked when his marriage fell apart - due to his wife leaving him for a teenager next door. However, the prosecution argued that Jones is an extremely dangerous individual and highlighted that Kyzer has said he attempted to control her with religion.
According to prosecutor Rick Hubbard, Jones ran various errands while driving around with his children’s bodies in his car including buying synthetic cannabis. However, he mainly drove around aimlessly until he bagged up the children’s remains and left them on a hillside near Camden in Alabama. He was apprehended at a traffic checkpoint in Smith County, Mississippi.
Jones has been found guilty of the murder of all five of his children. However, the same jury is to decide whether he receives the death sentence or life without parole. Sadly, neither will bring back the five children which are now so dearly missed. The trial continues.