LEXINGTON, S.C. — A jury sentenced a South Carolina father to die for murdering his five children.
Closing arguments took place this morning in the sentencing phase of the Timothy Jones Jr. trial. The judge then gave his instructions, and deliberations were set to get underway. Jurors will decide whether to give him life in prison or the death penalty.
READ MORE: Timothy Jones Jr. sentence to death
Jones was convicted last week on five counts of murder for the killings of his children in August of 2014.
On the final day of defense witness testimony, jurors heard from multiple family members who pleaded for mercy for Jones.
On Tuesday, Amber Kyzer, the mother of the children, asked the jury not to sentence her ex-husband to death. "I wish mercy for you," she said, addressing him directly. However, Kyzer said she'd respect whatever decision the jury came with, even if that was to punish him by execution.
Kyzer was very clear, however, saying that she did not have a lot of sympathy for him, at one point saying that while watching the trial, she said at one point, "fry him." But she said she's gone back and forth about the way she feels.
She said overall, however, she's opposed to the death penalty in general.
Jones admitted killing his children — Abigail Elaine, 1; Gabriel, 2; Nahtahn, 6; Elias, 7; and Mera Gracie, 8 — after picking them up from school and daycare on August 28, 2014. The murders took place at the family home on South Lake Drive in Red Bank.
Last Tuesday, the jury reached its guilty verdict after six hours of deliberation spread across parts of two days. The decision came after hearing 15 days of testimony.
Now, the same jury will decide if he deserves the death penalty of life in prison.
In reaching their decision, the jury rejected the defense's claim that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors had argued that while he was deeply troubled man, he knew right from wrong when he killed his five children in 2014.
But on Monday, Jones' father and grandmother both painted a picture of a man who led a disturbed adolescence and adulthood. They both broke down in tears when asked if he deserved to die. "Oh God no," his grandmother said.
Timothy Jones Sr., his father, even took off his shirt in court, displaying a back tattoo that featured images of the five slain children, a tribute to what his family lost. He also said he did not want his son to be executed.
Late last seek, that same jury heard evidence from prosecutors portrayed Jones as a selfish evil father who decided after killing one child that all his children should die instead of ending up with his ex-wife and he should be executed for his crimes.
On Friday, many of the former teachers of Jones testified that they remain haunted by the deaths. Several of them cried on the witness stand, as they recalled the memories of the children, and the pain of the loss on them nearly five years later.
One teacher even said he planned to leave the school because of the memories.
It's unclear when the sentencing phase will end, but it could last much of the rest of this week.