June 5 (UPI) — A South Carolina court on Tuesday found a man guilty of killing his five children in their mobile home in 2014.
The jury of five women and seven men convicted Timothy Jones Jr. on all five charges of murder in the deaths of his children, ages 1-8, on Aug. 28, 2014.
Attorneys for Jones, who pleaded not guilty, said he was schizophrenic and could not tell the difference between right and wrong. Jurors had the option of issuing verdicts of guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill.
On Thursday, the same jury will reconvene to decide whether to sentence Jones to the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
Both the prosecution and the defense will call witnesses for another round of testimony during the sentencing phase, which is expected to last about a week.
Jones led law enforcement to the bodies of his five children in a rural area in Alabama, six days after their mother reported them missing.
In confessions and statements to psychiatrists, Jones said he ordered his 6-year-old son Nathan to perform squats, sit-ups and other strenuous forms of exercise after he said the boy purposely blew the electrical sockets in their home. Jones said he later found the boy dead in his bed. Jones said he then killed the other four children to send them to heaven to be together.
Multiple mental health specialists paid to testify for the defense said they believed Jones is either schizophrenic or has schizoaffective disorder. Court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Richard Firerson diagnosed him with substance-induced psychosis and said Jones knew it was legally and morally wrong to kill his children.