Wednesday 26 June 2019

'My kids loved him' - mother seeks mercy for ex-husband who killed their five children

Amber Kyzer, mother of five children who were killed by their father (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP, Pool)
Amber Kyzer, mother of five children who were killed by their father (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP, Pool)
Nahthan Jones. Reuters/Lexington County Sheriff's Department/Handout via Reuters
Abigail Elizabeth Jones . Reuters/Lexington County Sheriff's Department/Handout via Reuters
Timothy Ray Jones Jr is accused of murdering his five children (AP)
Merah Gracie Jones. Reuters/Lexington County Sheriff's Department/Handout via Reuters
Elias Jones. Reuters/Lexington County Sheriff's Department/Handout via Reuters
Gabriel Jones. Reuters/Lexington County Sheriff's Department/Handout via Reuters

Jeffrey Collins

THE mother of five children who were killed by their father stunned a South Carolina courtroom by asking the jury to spare her ex-husband's life.

"He did not show my children any mercy by any means. 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," Amber Kyzer said on the witness stand.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Suzanne Mayes she added, "I'll respect whatever the jury decides."

Ms Kyzer had been subpoenaed by the defence.

Timothy Ray Jones Jr is accused of murdering his five children (AP)
Timothy Ray Jones Jr is accused of murdering his five children (AP)

A jury convicted Timothy Jones Jr of five counts of murder last week for the killings in his Lexington home in August 2014.

The same jurors are deciding if he will get the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Ms Kyzer said while she prays for Jones and personally opposes the death penalty, there have been many moments watching the trial when she wanted to "fry him".

"I hear what my kids went through and what they endured. 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," Ms Kyzer said.

Ms Kyzer first testified last month about a brief phone call just before her children were killed and dissolved into tears as she read a letter she wrote to her children apologising for not being there for them after the couple divorced.

On Tuesday, she wept again when recalling her children. But she also sounded adamant and aggravated as she described again how Jones hit her, spat in her face in front of their young daughter and threatened to chop her up and feed her to pigs during their marriage.

Ms Kyzer said Jones was a good father throughout their marriage and had a job as a computer engineer.

She said although Jones intentionally made it tough for her to visit her children by not accommodating her work schedule, she only missed two planned visitations and got her high school diploma and a job because she wanted to show she could support her kids.

Ms Kyzer testified she did not want Jones's family to deal with the pain of losing a son because she lost three of her own in 2014.

Press Association

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