A monster dad who murdered his five children has been sentenced to death.
Timothy Jones, 37, forced his six-year-old son to exercise until he collapsed and died as punishment for breaking an electrical outlet in August 2014 in Lexington, South Carolina.
Several hours later, he strangled his four other children, aged between one and eight.
The father pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but a jury found him guilty last week.
The same jury made the unanimous decision that he should be executed yesterday, making him the second person to be sentenced to death in his state in the last five years.
No-one has been executed in South Carolina since 2011.
Jones did not testify at his trial in Lexington, although his the victims’ mum Amber Kyzer pleaded for him to be spared the death penalty after he was convicted.
Jones was arrested at a traffic safety checkpoint in Mississippi in September 2014 and led police to the children’s bodies, which were wrapped in garbage bags.
In a taped confession played during the trial, Jones told investigators that his middle child, Nahtahn, 6, died accidentally on August 28, 2014, after Jones made him do squats and pushups as a punishment for breaking some electrical outlets.
Weeping, Jones told police he then strangled his other four children – Merah, eight; Elias, seven; Gabriel, two; and one-year-old Abigail Elaine – at their mobile home.
After the murders, authorities found handwritten notes in Jones car that seemed to detail ways to dispose of the evidence that read “melt bodies!” and “saw bones to dust or small pieces”.
Defence lawyers said Jones grew up in a household surrounded by violence and neglect with a mother with schizophrenia, a sometimes inherited mental illness, and that he had suffered a skull fracture and brain injury in a car crash.
Court-appointed psychiatrist Dr Richard Frierson testified that Jones told him a “gremlin voice” had told him to kill the remaining four children.
Jones thought they would be better off all together when he went to prison. Frierson said. “He made a conscious decision and choice to kill them. He felt it was morally justified.”
Jones did not appreciate the moral wrongness of his actions, defence lawyer Boyd Young told jurors.
His diseased mind believed the children were better off in heaven,” Young said. “Killing someone out of hatred is murder. Killing children out of love is insanity.”
Prosecutor Rick Hubbard rejected that argument, calling Jones a selfish man who abused his children regularly and killed Nahtahn out of rage.
“This man is not schizophrenic. This man knew right from wrong. He chose wrong,” Hubbard said.
“After they find the bodies, he’s still talking about his anger.”