‘I love you,’ daughter said as dad strangled her
By Mark Bellune
A Red Bank father confessed how he killed his 5 children in court Friday.
Timothy Ray Jones Jr. faces the death penalty if a Lexington County jury finds him guilty but not insane of murdering his children.
He has pled not guilty by reason of insanity.
Jones “hit on and spanked” and forced his 6-year-old son Nahtahn to do boot camp like exercises for hours before finding him dead later, Jones told investigators in an interview shortly after his arrest in Mississippi.
He said it was an accident but that voices in his head said “no one is going to believe you,” David Mackey of the FBI testified in Lexington Friday afternoon.
Mackey described his interview with Jones in Mississippi after his arrest in September 2014 at a DUI checkpoint.
Many of the graphic details in the interview were accidentally not recorded, Mackey testified. A summary interview was played in court.
“I used my hands to strangle my kids,” Jones can be clearly heard on the audio in court. “I used a belt, too.”
“I came in and (Nahtahn) was gone. That’s when panic mode came on.”
“The babies,” Jones said. “I used (a belt) to strangle them.”
Jones said he strangled 7-year-old Elias with his bare hands.
“Take me with you, dad,” Jones said Elias told him as he strangled him to death.
Next he went to 8-year-old Merah who said “I love you,” he said she told him as he strangled her to death.
Then he went to the youngest of them.
Jones said Nahtahn was an accident but in opening arguments Tuesday the prosecution said he was beaten to death.
Asked if he murdered the other 4, Jones is heard answering yes.
The prosecution and defense are trying to convince the jury about his sanity at the time of the killings.
Jones said in the interview that in high school he was nicknamed “crazy white guy.”
Testimony earlier Friday established Jones was high on synthetic marijuana and had 3.765 grams of the drug, also called Spice, in his SUV.
He had an aluminum can fashioned into a pipe for smoking it when his SUV was searched at the Mississippi checkpoint where he was arrested.
Jones said he was not high at the time of the killings but started to smoke the drug to “calm the voices in my head.”
Expert testimony earlier Friday revealed that Spice can cause euphoria along with such side affects as agitation, confusion, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations and psychosis.
He said he bought the Spice called “Scooby Snacks” at a Lexington head shop called Time Warp.
Jones said he questioned Nahtahn on the night of killings Aug. 28, 2014, about 4 electrical outlets that he believed the child had blown out but the boy would not tell him.
“I PT’d his ass and whipped his butt” to get him to talk, Jones said on the audio.
He described PT as squats and pushups for an hour on the audio before sending the boy to bed.
“I found he was deceased,” Jones said beginning to cry. “Then I killed the final 4.”
Jones cried then and many other times in court Friday, dabbing a turquoise and black paisley handkerchief at his eyes.
“I took the coward route and listened to the voices. That lead me on this path today.”
Earlier testimony had Jones wavering back and forth between hearing voices and believing Nahtahn and Elias were conspiring to kill him, and stating that if Nahtahn had told Jones what had happened to the electrical outlets, all the kids would still be alive.
The difference could mean life or death.
Prosecutors called more witnesses Friday about Jones' time after the killings trying to establish his sanity.
A convenience store clerk, a clerk at a Dollar General store in Orangeburg and a co-manager of a West Columbia Walmart testified Jones appeared OK when he made transactions with them.
Video was played from the Walmart and convenience store showing Jones appearing calm and reasonable with people and surroundings.
At Walmart, Jones bought several items that were tracked by date and time from a receipt found in his Cadillac Escalade.
Evidence entered Friday included hand saws, muriatic acid, a dust mask, goggles and a 5-gallon bucket.
Mackey of the FBI said he was concerned about how the items would be used.
A note in Jones’ handwriting found in his SUV and submitted into evidence and read by Jones in the audio included the words burn bodies, saw bones, dissolve and discard, melt bodies.
Jones said he “stacked” the children’s bodies in black trash bags in the foot well of his SUV for 9 days. He spent a couple of days in Red Bank and then drove through the Southeast.
“I’m just running,” he said.
He described the kids bodies decomposing in the car as “stink like s**t.”
Mackey said he knew when Jones led them to the bodies to smelling the decomposition when he got out of the law enforcement vehicles.
Jones was leading them to the Alabama logging road where he dumped the bodies.
Jones said when he dumped the bodies in the trash bags in Alabama he started to dismember them.
“I tried to saw a leg but I couldn’t do that.”
Asked how far he cut into the leg, he made a sound gesture. He said authorities would find a mark on the boy’s leg.
Asked if he was suicidal, Jones said, “If I was going to do that, it would have already happened.
“If hell is a real place... I don’t want to go there.”
Mackey said during the unrecorded interview Jones had lied about events that Mackey said he didn’t believe.
Finally Jones said “let’s cut to the chase,” Mackey said.
Jones told them the 2 oldest children were afraid and knew something bad had happened after Nahtahn’s death, Mackey testified.
Mackey said Jones told him the 2 oldest struggled as he strangled them.
Then Jones said “his hands were too big to strangle” the youngest, ages 1 and 2, Mackey said.
Then he said Jones demonstrated how he "pulled the belt taught.”