A man accused of killing his five children said he feared they were trying to kill him and that he heard voices in his head in a bizarre confession.
Lawyers for Timothy Jones Jr, from the US state of South Carolina, are now carefully going over the full confession in court as they seek to prove their insanity case.
Lexington Sheriff’s Sergeant Anthony Creech was asked by lawyers in court to talk about the moments in the confession when Jones said odd things that could indicate mental instability or a tenuous grip on reality.
Sergeant Creech testified that Jones also said he thought one of the five children was going to grow up to do something bad and he prevented that by killing all of them.
The defence team plans to ask jurors to find Jones not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2014 deaths of his five children, aged between one and eight, in their Lexington home.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty and rested their case on Wednesday.
Jones’ lawyers started their case Wednesday morning to show their client is not guilty by reason of insanity.
Their first witness was a doctor who reviewed images of Jones’ brain and found a substantial injury from a car crash in his teens.
The scientific testimony was in stark contrast to a week of prosecution witnesses who gave detailed testimony about strangulation marks and the decomposing bodies of the children.
Prosecutors called Jones’ ex-wife Amber Kyzer who broke into sobs while testifying about her children.
Daughter’s tragic last words before death
In his confession, Jones said he forced the middle child, six-year-old Nahtahn, to exercise for hours as punishment after he broke an electrical outlet.
He said when he found the child dead, at some point after Nahtahn had gone to bed, he flew into a rage and strangled the other four kids.
Jones said the oldest child, eight-year-old Mera, said, “Daddy, I love you,” as her father wrapped his hands around her neck, FBI agent David Mackey testified.
After all the children were dead, Jones wrapped their bodies in plastic and started searching on his smartphone for tips on how to dispose of bodies and get away with crimes, police officers testified.
When investigators asked him about it during his confession, Jones started to cry.
“I tried to saw a leg and I couldn’t bring myself to do it,” he said.
Ms Kyzer dabbed tears from her eyes for most of her testimony on Monday.
A prosecutor asked her to read a letter she wrote to the oldest child, trying to comfort her over the divorce and the pain of suddenly being in a broken home.
“You kids are my world and Mommy and Daddy were really blessed to have you,” Kyzer said, pausing, then burying her head in her hands on the witness stand and breaking into heaving sobs.
“Oh god. Oh god. My babies. My babies,” Ms Kyzer cried as the judge rushed to get the jury out of the courtroom.
The trial continues.
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