Father handed death penalty for murders of five children

A father has been handed the death penalty for murdering his five young children.

Timothy Jones, 37 was convicted of the murders of Merah, 8; Elias, 7; Nahtahn, 6; Gabriel, 2; and Abigail, 1 at their mobile home in 2014 before driving their decomposing bodies through several US states and dumping them in Alabama.

A jury in Lexington, South Carolina, voted unanimously to give divorced former software engineer the death penalty rather than life in prison without possibility of parole.

Timothy Jones was sentenced to death for murdering his five children

Jones was arrested in Mississippi in September 2014 and led police to the children's bodies, wrapped in rubbish bags, in Alabama.

He confessed to police that his middle son, Nahtahn, died after a punishment he had meted out to him and he later strangled the other four children.

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A jury voted unanimously to hand the death penalty to Timothy Jones (Picture: Reuters)

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In a phone call from prison in 2014, Jones said he "snapped" when he killed Nahtahn, 6, because the child was crying for his mother.

During the trial, the jury saw graphic photos of police evidence and heard emotional testimony from the children's school teachers and relatives.

Prosecutor Rick Hubbard had argued that the murders of children under age 11 warranted the death penalty, branding Jones a “mass murderer”.

Defence attorney Casey Secor reminded jurors that Jones' mother was institutionalized with schizophrenia, a condition that can be inherited.

"How much more death does the Jones family have to endure?", Secor said. "The death penalty is never required in any case."

Jones' father, Timothy Jones Sr., pleaded for his son's life and took his shirt off in court to show his back covered with tattooed images of his dead grandchildren.

Jones' ex-wife Amber Kyzer also appealed for mercy for Jones, saying: "He did not show my children mercy by any means. But my kids loved him.”