Ex-wife of Timothy Jones takes the stand in murder trial

Amber Jones Kyzer talked about her ex-husband and why she let him be the primary caretaker

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WOLO) — Eight people took the stand in Day Five of the Timothy Jones murder trial, but none painted a more personal picture of life with Jones than his ex-wife, Amber Kyzer.

Throughout her testimony, Kyzer (who has since remarried) could not hold back the tears, saying that she misses her five children every day.

When she first met Timothy Jones, she said something about his intelligence and faith drew her to him.

“I thought wow, this guy has it together,” said Kyzer. “He was going to school part-time, working part-time, and he had church under the belt. So we started going to the services together, and we found our church family.”

For nine years, the two were married, ultimately ending up in South Carolina.

Once the two were divorced, they both agreed that Jones be the primary caretaker, but she could visit the children from time to time.

“He had a steady job, he had a roof over his head, he had a vehicle,” said Kyzer.

By August 2014, she had fewer supervised visits with her children.

On August 28, she called the house, and she said she heard her six-year-old son, Nahtahn, crying.

“I said, ‘son what’s wrong?’ and he said ‘mom, I didn’t mean to,” and in the background, I hear Tim going on in the background saying ‘you could have killed yourself son,’ and Tim hung up the phone,” Kyzer said.

She said she tried to call a couple more times, but Jones did not answer.

“As a parent, you should allow me to correct my children as well, and I believe that sometimes, when you’re frustrated, you should allow the other parent to talk to the child,” said Kyzer in an answering machine message to Jones on August 28.

Nearly five years later, Kyzer still feels the pain of not having her children around.

“I can’t handle it. I just can’t handle it. My kids knew I loved them,” Kyzer said.

While reading a letter written to her eldest daughter, Kyzer broke down in tears, causing a ten-minute jury recess.

In addition to Kyzer, seven other people took the stand.

Dr. Janice Edwards Ross, a forensic pathologist who used to perform autopsies in Newberry, said that two of the five children (Elias, Gabriel) died from strangulation, while also determining that the other three died as a result of homicidal violence.

Karen Leonhardt, the Nurse at Saxe Gotha Elementary School, said that while the three oldest children were healthy, she was concerned about how Jones wanted to treat his oldest daughter’s head lice.

She said he suggested using kerosene and then a heat gun to burn the lice, but she convinced him otherwise. She said school officials called the Department of Social Services (DSS) twice, saying the other instance was because Nahtahn came into school with bruises on his arm and neck.

Stephanie Stanley, a DNA specialist for the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), testified to confirm DNA found on items in Jones’s car (pillow, blue bucket, carpet, etc.) matched those of the five children.

Candy Kyzer, an Evidence Custodian with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, and Lt. Britt Dove of the Computer Crimes Division at SLED, testified about how evidence is collected and logged, specifically talking about the cell phone found in Jones’s car.

Shelby Derrick, a Crime Scene Investigator with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, talked about how she collected the cell phone and other evidence after meeting with a representative from the Jackson, Miss. field office of the FBI in Atlanta, as well as a home investigation conducted after Jones’s arrest.

Heather Clary, formerly a Crime Scene Investigator with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, unveiled a broken Woody doll from Toy Story, which was a favorite toy of one of his children.

Testimony continues Tuesday morning at the Lexington County Courthouse.

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