Mom, Whose Ex Murdered Their 5 Kids, Stuns Court & Asks for 'Forgiveness' for Him

Photos of the Jones children before their murders
The State

For the past five years, Amber Kyzer has been living a nightmare no parent should ever have to endure. In August, 2014, her ex-husband, Timothy Jones Jr., of South Carolina brutally murdered all five of her young children, before burying them in shallow graves in rural Alabama. The disturbing case finally headed to court this month, and just last week, a jury quickly found Jones guilty. But on Tuesday, before the jury deliberated to determine Jones' fate, an unlikely defender spoke out on his behalf: the children's mother.

  • According to The State, Kyzer stunned the courtroom when she took the stand.

    When asked by the defense whether or not she believed Jones should be put to death, Kyzer replied: 

    "I personally, myself, can't bring myself to want anyone to die. It's a really hard -- I hear what my kids went through, I'm just being honest ... and as a mother, if I could personally rip his face off, I would. That's the mom in me. That's the mama bear in me, wanting him to just make him feel everything they felt. [But] I don't personally feel like I have the right to put anybody's life in my hands. ... I don't wish the Jones family to feel what I felt losing my sons."

    "He did not show my children any mercy by any means," Kyzer continued. "But my kids loved him and if I’m speaking on behalf of my kids and not myself, that’s what I have to say."

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  • Still, that's not to say the grieving mother didn't have moments during the trial that made her blood boil.

    In fact, NBC News reports Kyzer said she wanted to "fry" Jones during many points of the proceedings -- despite not personally supporting the death penalty.

    But ultimately, she put her personal feelings aside, trying to remember that Jones was a good father during their marriage, despite how things ended. Whatever their decision, Kyzer said she would respect the jury's decision. After all, she said, “That’s why we have the jury."

  • The brutal murders are said to have begun on August 28, 2014, when Jones forced his 6-year-old son Nahtahn to exercise for hours until he died.

    He told police that it was punishment for blowing out an electrical outlet, but also because Jones believed his son was conspiring against him with his mother. The father insisted that when he sent the boy to bed, he was alive, and that he only noticed later when he went to check on him  that his son had died.

    But it's this next point that has left investigators baffled: Instead of calling 911 for help, Jones decided to murder his remaining four children.

    First came 8-year-old Merah and 7-year-old Elias, who Jones strangled to death. His younger children, 2-year-old Gabriel and 1-year-old Abigail, were choked with a belt -- a chilling detail that prosecutors say was done when Jones realized his hands were too large.

  • Jones then stuffed the children's bodies into black garbage bags and drove around with them in the back of his SUV for days before burying them.

    By then, he had aimlessly driven from his home in South Carolina to a remote part of Alabama, where he dumped them in shallow graves off the side of a dirt road. 

    In the meantime, Kyzer alerted police that her ex-husband and her children had missed a scheduled visit. Jones was taken into custody on September 6, after being stopped at a police checkpoint. There, an officer noticed the intense smell of decaying bodies in the back of his SUV, which was later determined to be from the corpses of his children.

  • Once in police custody, Jones told a rambling, bizarre tale, claiming the murders had been done in pre-emptive "self-defense."

    “He started talking about Elias and Nahtahn and that they had said they want to kill him, that they essentially were colluding against him,” said FBI Agent David Mackey, according to WCSC.

    It was a claim that investigators found (understandably) unconvincing. But as his trial began on May 14, 2019, defense attorneys began to paint a clearer picture of Jones' mental state at the time, claiming he was (and is) suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia -- a condition his own mother has been institutionalized with for several decades.

    When Kyzer took to the stand, the tearful mother shed more light on Jones' deteriorating mental state during the course of their marriage, claiming that although he initially seemed to be a loving husband, his demeanor changed as he became increasingly immersed in his religion and controlling of Kyzer's behavior. She claims those strains are what ultimately caused the marriage to crack and drove her into the arms of a 19-year-old neighbor.

  • Crushed by the breakup of his marriage, Jones' attorneys say the stress of a full-time job and primary custody of five kids proved to be too much.

    A social worker was also called to the stand and detailed a cycle of abuse and trauma within the family, including "three generations of rapes, molestation by family members, gunshots, stabbings, drug deals, voodoo rituals, prostitution, frequent screaming fights and cursing at children" according to NBC News. Jones’ mother was also said to have dipped him in ice water baths and given him laxatives to try to make him behave, the news program reports.

    In fact, as part of her research into family psychiatric records, the social worker shared that Jones' mother told doctors she'd been molested by her father and then locked in a closet with a dead chicken -- as it dripped blood on her. (This was reportedly part of the voodoo ritual.)

  • Kyzer wasn't the only person who asked the court to spare her ex-husband's life, though.

    His grandmother, Roberta Thornsberry -- who reportedly gave birth to Jones' father at age 12 after being raped by her stepfather -- also took the stand.

    “I love him,” she said, as she asked the court to take the death penalty off the table. “Our family’s been through enough. I don’t think we can take any more. This has broke us so bad.”

    Jones' father also made the same plea. "I don’t want to hurt no more,” Jones Sr. reportedly said. 

    For now, the family must wait until the jury ultimately decides whether Jones will live -- and spend his life in prison -- or die.

    Looking at her ex-husband across the courtroom this week, Kyzer showed remarkable strength -- and, incredibly, mercy.

    "I hope for mercy for you," she told Jones. "I pray for you often. And I say that without excusing what he's done. I say that wholeheartedly from the depths of my soul. I don't want anyone to feel any more. There's been a lot of loss. A lot of loss."