Defense rests in sentencing phase of Timothy Jones Jr. murder trial

Closing arguments to begin Thursday morning

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LEXINGTON, S.C. (WOLO) — More than a week after a jury found Jones guilty of murdering his five children back in 2014, the defense rested its case in the sentencing phase of the Timothy Jones Jr. murder trial.

The defense called up four more family members, including three of Jones’s half-siblings from later spouses of Timothy Jones Sr., to the stand, all of them saying they want mercy for the defendant.

Growing up, Timothy Jones Jr.’s half brothers, Tyler and Travis, said they looked up to Jones as someone who could push them to be better.

“He always influenced me. He was always like ‘go to college, get you a book and go to college. Tim always guided me in the right direction,” Tyler said.

After Jones Sr. divorced his second wife Carolyn Willeford, who is the mother of Tyler and Travis, the two men said their elder half-brother was there for them.

“He took me under his wing. He saw I was having a hard time with my parent’s divorce, he saw I was having a hard time in school, he saw I was dealing with other personal problems, and he helped me through every one of them,” Travis said.

Years later, when his family found out what Jones did to his five children, some say they took the news harder than others.

Jackie Rangel, Jones’s half sister through Jones Sr.’s marriage to Julie Jones, said she still feels those losses every day as she raises her four-year daughter. Spending hours with the Jones children while they were growing up, she said she could see qualities of the oldest Jones children in her daughter.

Rangel said she thought it was sad Jones Jr. could not attend her wedding or see her daughter’s birth.

“I feel like I failed him as a sister because he was always there for me, and when he needed me, I wasn’t,” Rangel testified to the jury.

Some family members said Jones should not receive the death penalty since he use his intelligence as a tool to help others while in prison. 

“He still has a lot to give. Think of all the people he could help get GED’s for over the next forty years, and they could become productive members of society,” said Julie Jones, currently married to Timothy Jones Sr.

Others say they don’t want anymore pain for the family.

“Now I have to live with the fear I’m going to lose my brother after I’ve already lost my nephews and nieces, please, please don’t do that to me, don’t make my family have to endure this,” Travis said.

Since Monday, seven family members have testified on Jones’s behalf in an effort to convince the jury to spare his life. Timothy Jones Sr. (Jones’s father) and Roberta Thornsberry (Jones’s grandmother) testified Monday, while Amber Kyzer (Jones’s ex-wife) took the stand Tuesday.

Alongside the family, Deborah Grey, a social historian who did extensive research on mental illness in the Jones family, wrapped up her testimony.

In total, since the prosecution rested Friday afternoon, the defense called thirteen witnesses to the stand. Seven of the final eight witnesses are related to Jones Jr.

Closing arguments will take place Thursday morning. Once those wrap up, the jury will determine if Jones will receive the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

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