Opening statements set the tone for Timothy Jones murder trial

Jones was charged with the murder of his five children back in 2014

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WOLO) — The Timothy Jones murder trial got underway Tuesday in Lexington county as the prosecution and defense set the tone for the death penalty trial.

Attorneys representing the prosecution and defense each spoke to the jury twenty minutes apiece, but they depicted two different versions of Timothy Jones and what led up to the death of his children nearly five years ago.

After Judge Ernest Griffith called court into session, the prosecution set an emotional tempo.

“A father is supposed to protect his children. Tim Jones was worried about protecting himself. Timothy Ray Jones Jr. is not a father. He killed his five innocent children. He did it with malice and evil in his heart. He’s not insane. He’s a murderer,” said Deputy Solicitor Shawn Graham in his opening statement.

While going into details on what happened that fateful August night, the prosecution said Jones was fully aware of what he did to his children.

“He knew what he did was wrong. That’s why he did not call 9-1-1. He knew what he did was wrong. That’s why he ran,” Graham said.

Meanwhile, the defense said the State’s case neglects to tell the whole story of what went through Jones’s head that night.

“Tim has schizophrenia, something he wasn’t diagnosed with prior to his arrest,” said Robert Madsen, a public defender with the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense in his opening statement.

The defense said Jones’s mom has been institutionalized for having schizophrenia, and that he was involved in a traumatic car crash growing up.

They say Jones wanted to avoid ending up like his mother, but his efforts of self medication shortly after his divorce from his wife could not silence his demons.

In his opening statement, Madsen said after Jones found out his wife was having an affair with a neighbor, a stable life held together by his job, marriage, and religion began to crumble around him.

“Tim’s forest was on fire. It was burning out of control. When deciding if he knew the legal and moral right from wrong, you need to look at the whole forest, not just a few trees,” Madsen said.

After the jury left the room, the defense tried to motion for a mistrial since they said Graham almost started to cry during his opening statement. Judge Griffith denied the motion, and the trial continues Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

Jones’s father, Timothy Jones Sr., was in the court room, sitting a couple rows behind his son and his defense team.

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