Dad Who Killed 5 Kids & Drove Around With Their Bodies May Have Done it as 'Revenge' for Mom's Affair

Jones children before their deaths

In May and June, a stunned courtroom listened to the gruesome and horrifying tale of Timothy Jones, the South Carolina father who confessed to brutally murdering his five children in August 2014, stuffing their bodies into garbage bags, and driving around with them in the back of his SUV for days before burying their bodies. The case had been awaiting trial for some five years, and during that time, Jones's reasons for why he committed the murders continually changed. But as details continue to leak from court testimony, it seems prosecutors are adamant that Jones' motive was clear: He did it all for revenge.

  • In a taped interview with police, Jones originally said he snapped on August 28, 2014, after growing angry at one of his sons.

    In the interview, Jones claimed that the tipping point came when he spotted four blown electrical outlets inside his Lexington, South Carolina, home. After confronting his 6-year-old son, Nahtahn, the boy's explanation apparently wasn't enough -- so he forced him to do squats, push-ups, and sit-ups for hours as punishment.

    He insisted that it wasn't until later, after sending the boy to bed and going to check on him, that he found him dead. But instead of dialing 911 and rushing the boy to a hospital, Jones instead proceeded to murder his remaining four children.

    First, he strangled his 7- and 8-year-olds, Elias and Merah. Then, he reportedly strangled his 2-year-old son Gabriel and 1-year-old daughter Abigail with a belt, once he realized his hands were too big.

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  • Jones is then said to have put their bodied into black garbage bags, loaded them into the back of his SUV, and driven around aimlessly for days.

    In fact, he crossed through four states over the course of nearly a week before he buried their bodies beside a dirt road in rural Alabama.

    But Jones didn't elude authorities for long. His ex-wife Amber Kyzer, the mother of the children, had reported them missing when he failed to bring them for one of her scheduled visits. And while driving through Mississippi, Jones was stopped at a checkpoint -- where "the smell of death" wafting from his back seat tipped them off in a big way.

  • Jones' vehicle was soon searched, which turned up traces of blood, human decay, maggots, and several disturbing "to-do" lists.

    Among the many tasks listed were things like "melt bodies" and "saw bones," and although Jones admitted the handwriting was his, he claimed to have no memory of ever writing the notes. 

    In fact, even as Jones confessed, his reasons for why he said he murdered his children began to shift. 

    First, he said he did it because "voices" in his head told him to. Believing no one would believe the death of his first child was an accident, the 37-year-old father said he continued to murder the remaining children.

    “He heard a demonic voice ... a creepy, gremlin voice that told him, ‘Kill the kids’,” Dr. Richard Frierson testified in late May. “He described the voices as being inside his head, being very brief."

    Oddly, Jones also told investigators it was done in pre-emptive self-defense -- he wanted to kill his children before they could kill him. Or "chop him up and feed him to the dogs," according to the police report.

  • Now, reports are surfacing that prosecutors believe the murders were more likely tied to revenge than anything else.

    Jones had just been through a bitter divorce with Kyzer, and had received sole custody of their five children, which seemed to be taking a toll on the father, who worked full time as a software engineer for Intel. That wasn't the only contributing factor, though: Prosecutors believe Kyzer's affair with a 19-year-old neighbor drove him to the edge.

    According to the Associated Press, testimony from within the courtroom painted Jones as a "selfish, evil man" who wanted to "inflict revenge" on his ex-wife for her infidelity -- something that was in direct conflict with his strongly held religious beliefs.

    In fact, Kyzer testified that much of the reason the marriage crumbled was because of his deteriorating mental state, controlling behavior, and archaic views of how women should be treated within a household.

    "Women are to be seen and not heard," Kyzer told the courtroom. "I was merely to take care of the children. To keep them out of his way."

    This was later echoed by Jones' 17-year-old babysitter Crystal Ballentine, who took the stand in June. According to the State, Ballentine began a sexual relationship with Jones in 2012, not long after she began looking after his children, and performing daily housekeeping tasks.

  • The babysitter testified that she ultimately left Jones after growing tired of his controlling ways and the abuse she was seeing in his home.

    Ballentine shared that Jones began taking her to his fundamentalist Christian church, where people "spoke in tongues" and rolled around "on the floor," and began trying to get her to comply with the church's teachings. That meant not cutting her hair, wearing long dresses, and being subservient to men.

    Ballentine wanted nothing to do with his religious practices -- something that Jones' own father, Timothy Jones Sr., testified was a "cult."

    But the abuse she saw was what ultimately proved too much to bear. Ballentine testified that she witnessed Jones “hitting [his kids] pretty hard” and “making them stand tippy-toe in the corner.”

    The 'final straw" was Jones trying to whip Ballentine's infant daughter. “She wasn’t even 1 years old,” she told the courtroom.

  • The children's last babysitter, Joy Lorrick, also testified to being alarmed by abuse she saw. She witnessed not only beatings but starvation.

    In fact, Lorrick says she intervened as Jones beat two of his sons during a trip to Disney World, just eight weeks before the murders, and that she later reported him to DSS. Tragically, The State reports that the case was mishandled and nothing was done.

    Jones, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, was found guilty on all five counts of murder in June. In a move that stunned the court, the children's mother, Amber Kyzer, asked the court to spare his life. However, on June 5, the South Carolina court sentenced Jones to death.