COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Latest on a death penalty trial for a South Carolina father (all times local):
Prosecutors combined horrific crime scene evidence with tender memories in the first day of a sentencing hearing for a South Carolina father convicted of killing his five children.
The same jury that convicted Timothy Jones Jr. of five counts of murder Tuesday started hearing testimony Thursday as they decide whether he gets the death penalty or life in prison.
Prosecutors called an investigator who showed pictures of the five trash bags the children were left in on a hillside near Camden, Alabama, after they were killed in Lexington in August 2014. They also had a pathologist testify to their injuries.
Also testifying Thursday were a babysitter who watched the children, ranging in age from 1 to 8, and the assistant principal from their school.
Dozens of family photos were shown. Jones' lawyers made sure to point out the ones where Jones was seen smiling or hugging and kissing his children.
A prosecutor says a South Carolina father deserves to die for killing his five children in a carefully thought out effort to avoid prison.
Prosecutor Suzanne Mayes in her opening statement during sentencing Thursday said 37-year-old Timothy Jones Jr. killed his 6-year-son through hours of painful, torturous exercise in their Lexington home in August 2014, then strangled the other four children so no witnesses would be left alive.
Defense lawyer Boyd Young asked the same jury that convicted Jones on Tuesday to choose life in prison because mentally ill people shouldn't be executed, God can use people in dark places and the Jones family has seen enough death.
The first witness showed the five trash bags with the bodies of the children inside found on an Alabama hillside.
A juror cried so hard the judge stopped the trial for a break.
Prosecutors are trying to convince jurors that a South Carolina father who killed his five children should be executed.
Jurors will begin hearing testimony Thursday as they decide whether Timothy Jones Jr. is sentenced to death for the August 2014 killings.
Prosecutors are expected to show evidence of how the children, ages 1 to 8, suffered. Authorities say four were strangled after Jones exercised one child to death for breaking an electrical outlet.
Jones was convicted Tuesday of five counts of murder after his attorneys unsuccessfully argued he was not guilty by reason of insanity.
Jones' lawyers say he had undiagnosed schizophrenia and was pushed over the edge by the stress of his divorce and having sole custody of the children.
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