Defense rests in Jones death penalty phase
The jury in Tim Jones Jr's. murder trial should begin deliberating Thursday on whether he should die.
Jones was found guilty last week of brutally murdering his 5 children, ages 1-8, on Aug. 28, 2014 in their Red Bank home.
After the defense rested Wednesday, Judge Eugene C. Griffith Jr. excused them for the day so the prosecution and defense could discuss the judge’s instructions to the jury before they deliberate.
Closings arguments are expected Thursday morning, followed by jury instructions and then deliberations.
The main bone of contention between the 2 sides is how the jury would be addressed on deciding Jones’ fate and if they do not come to a unanimous decision. Griffith asked for their opinions since it was his 1st death penalty case to go to a jury.
The judge is to make a decision before open court in the morning.
In the discussions, the state pointed to the case of Ricky Lee Blackwell Sr. in Spartanburg County as an example to follow.
Blackwell was convicted and sentenced to death in 2014 for the 2009 murder of 8-year-old Brooke Center.
In that case, Blackwell put the girl in a choke hold and shot her 4 times as his former wife and grandsons watched.
His ex-wife was dating Brooke’s father, and he killed her in an act of revenge, the prosecution said.
The SC Supreme Court affirmed his sentence in 2017.
That case is still on appeal.
In other matters Wednesday, licensed clinical social worker Deborah Grey was cross examined about her testimony Tuesday regarding the Jones family history.
She plans to charge state taxpayers at least $62,500 for 500 hours of work.
Jones’ family members Wednesday pleaded for the jury to spare his life.
Julie Jones, his father’s wife, met Jones' father online. She said “Timmy” is the one who got his father to go online.
“We were able to become friends and a parent figure as well,” she said.
She talked of the emotional upheaval losing the 5 children wrought on the family and how Jones Sr. “talked about suicide and joining the babies. I was afraid.”
“I love Tim,” she said as Jones cried at the defense table. “I love him very, very much. He’s my son.”
“I want mercy. I don’t want him put to death.”
She said Jones tutored her children and that he could help other prisoners gain their General Equivalency Diplomas.
“He still has alot to give,” she said, her voice cracking.
Half brother Tyler Jones said, “Tim was always guiding me in the right direction.”
“I got hooked on Spice for 2 years,” he told the jury. “I burned alot of bridges with my family.
“I was able to quit over 2 years when my buddy’s mom hung herself over it.”
In a phone conversation, Jones told his half brother that he had found something better than marijuana.
“I told him, Tim you got to get over it,” he said. “You don’t know what that is.”
“I know what he did was horrible,” he said. “Don’t take 1 more from us. Our family can’t take it.”
Half brother Travis Jones said he considers Jones Jr. a full brother and father figure.
“I tried to be the best man I can because that is what he wants me to be and my father, too,” he said.
Outside Chicago, Jones got him Baptized in his Pentecostal Church.
“I’m sorry Timmy, brother, but you’re not all there,” he said, then looked at Jones and mouthed the words, “I love you.”
Both were crying.
“I do not want to see him lose his life,” he pleaded to the jury. “Please, please don’t do that to me.”
His step sister Jackie Rangel was next on the stand.
She said she took care of his kids in the summer of 2012 at their father’s house in Mississippi when Jones was going through a divorce with his wife Amber.
“They were perfect little kids,” she said.
“My brother is kind and he is gentle.”
“I’m angry because he missed out on important parts of my life” like my wedding and birth of my child.
She said doctors told her the conception date of her daughter was the same date in 2014 that Jones murdered his kids.
“I feel broken. I feel angry.”
“I feel like I failed him as a sister,” she said. “I’m not mad at you. I even forgive you.
“The Timmy I know isn’t capable... he’s full of love and compassion. He didn’t even yell.
“He’s my brother and I love him.
“I already lost him and I won’t be able to get him back.”
"Do you want him to die?" the defense asked her.
“No, no. I don’t.”