A South Carolina prison guard testified Tuesday that a man on trial for killing his five children in 2014 said that he murdered his 8-year-old daughter after she witnessed him strangle one of her younger brothers to death.
Lieutenant Travis Pressley claimed that Timothy Jones admitted to choking his son for playing with electrical outlets. Jones said his daughter, Merah, witnessed the ordeal, so he “choked her ‘til she turned purple,” Pressley said, according to WCAU.
“He said that when he saw the daughter, she was shocked — and I guess, I don’t know, she tried to run away or what — he grabbed her and choked her so hard …” Pressley recalled, according to The State.
In addition to Merah, Jones is accused of killing his other four children, Elias, 7, Nahtahn, 6, Gabriel, 2, and Elaine, 1, in August 2014. Jones allegedly fatally beat Nahtahn before strangling his other four children and dumping their bodies in a rural area in Alabama.
Jones—who is facing the death penalty for the quintuple slaying—claimed he accidentally killed Nahtahn by forcing him to do an excessive number of pushups and squats but admitted to strangling his other four children. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
According to WCAU, ex-forensic pathologist Dr. Patricia Ross testified Monday that Nahtahn died from “homicidal violence. However, she couldn’t dismiss strangulation or excessive exercise as contributing factors to his death due to the state of the toddler’s decomposition when the autopsy was performed.
On Tuesday, a court also heard testimony from Mike Phipps, a digital forensic analyst with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. WIS reported that Phipps accused Jones of making several concerning Google searches in the days after the murders, including “dog search for body in landfill,” “clean pool muriatic acid,” “muriatic acid burn,” “camping South Carolina,” What does no extradition laws mean,” and “five countries with no extradition treaty.”
Phipps also alleged Jones searched for information about himself, typing “Tim Jones missing children,” into a Google search engine.
Jones faces an automatic death sentence if convicted.
[Featured image: Lexington County Sheriff’s Department]