Timothy Ray Jones Jr. told South Carolina investigators he killed his five young children and dumped them in the Alabama woods because he feared they were "going to kill him, chop him up and feed him to the dogs," according to court documents released Wednesday. Jones, 32, of Lexington, South Carolina, is charged with five counts of murder in the deaths of his children, ages 1 to 8, whose bodies were found in garbage bags in Oak Hill, Alabama, after they were killed Aug. 28.
Jones was arrested in his blood-soaked Cadillac Escalade on Sept. 6 in Raleigh, Mississippi, and he led police to the victims' decomposed bodies three days later. Mississippi investigators found "a large amount of blood and hand written notes with directions to kill and mutilate bodies" inside the SUV, Lexington County sheriff's deputies said in an application for an arrest warrant.
The case has drawn worldwide attention to Jones, who was transferred to state custody and placed on suicide watch after Lexington County jailers said they could no longer guarantee his safety. Although prosecutors haven't said one way or the other yet, a state circuit judge said in a separate court document filed Friday that it was "reasonable" to assume that Jones could face the death penalty, and he appointed two public defenders with specific expertise in capital cases.
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— M. Alex Johnson