COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Almost five years after investigators say a Lexington County father brutally murdered his five children and dumped their decomposing bodies in Alabama, his death penalty trial is set to begin Tuesday.
Timothy Jones Jr., 37, is charged with five counts of murder in the 2014 slayings, which investigators say took place at his Red Bank home.
His children, ranging in age from one to eight, were found in shallow graves in rural Alabama more than a week after they were reported missing.
Jones is pleading not guilty in the case, as prosecutors seek the death penalty.
Jury selection for the highly-publicized case lasted nine days, with more than 130 potential jurors being questioned by prosecutors and defense attorneys. On Thursday, the court arrived at a pool of 50 qualified jurors, from which the final jury will be seated.
Judge Eugene Griffith said the jury will be seated on Monday and if all goes as planned, opening statements in the trial will begin Tuesday afternoon. The first witnesses could be called to the stand as early as Wednesday.
The jury selection process took much longer than anticipated, as attorneys dealt with pre-trial publicity, including a newspaper stand outside of the Lexington County Courthouse that was removed on Wednesday. Defense attorneys argued potential jurors entering the courthouse would be subjected to the headline, which was related to the trial.
Over the course of the nine-day selection process, Jones’ defense team asked for a change of venue three times; each attempt was denied by the judge.