Defense rests in Jones death penalty trial, deliberations to begin this week

Defense rests in Jones death penalty trial, deliberations to begin next week

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - After seven days and 26 witnesses called to the stand, the defense team for Timothy Jones Jr. rested its case on Friday afternoon.

It comes after offering the testimony from two psychiatrists to the jury, both of whom disagree with testimony provided by a court-appointed psychiatrist on Thursday.

Dr. Beverly Wood, Chief of Psychiatry at the South Carolina Department of Corrections, treated Jones during his time within its facilities over the last four years. Based on her interactions with Jones, observations, and review of his medical and family history, she told the jury she diagnosed him with schizoaffective disorder.

Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of both thought and mood disorders, meaning someone could suffer delusions and hallucinations, but also experience mania or depression.

“I never saw anything in his behavior that would confirm that or make me think he was faking,” Dr. Wood testified. “I can’t imagine…generally people who are faking it don’t make it to the doses of medication he’s on.

Dr. Wood told the jury it is her belief Jones is mentally ill and suffered from schizoaffective disorder on Aug. 28, 2014, when investigators said he killed his five children. As a result, she testified Jones did not know what he was doing was legally or morally wrong.

The defense then called Dr. Julie Dorney, a forensic psychiatrist hired to evaluate Jones’ mental state. She testified to meeting with Jones eight times for a total of 18 hours over the course of the last few years. She too testified to diagnosing Jones with schizoaffective disorder based on her observations and feedback she received from him.

“During the several weeks leading up to the offense, and on the day of the offense, and for several weeks to months afterward he suffered from psychotic thinking, specifically delusional thinking and hallucinations,” she said. “So he has a mental illness, he had a major mental illness of the day of the offense.”

During cross-examination, Deputy Solicitor Shawn Graham questioned Dorney on some of the delusions she testified Jones was suffering from, such as his children plotting against him in order to move in with their mother, even being afraid his children were going to kill him. Graham asked how Dorney differentiated those “delusions” from “anxious thoughts” in Jones’ mind. She pointed to his increased mania and psychotic thinking.

On Monday, the prosecution will have its opportunity to offer a final redirect, in which it can call one witness to the stand. Afterward, both sides will present closing arguments, before the judge charges the jury. Once the jury has received its instructions, it will begin deliberating.

In a capital case, there is the potential for two phases; the guilt or innocence phase and the punishment phase. If the jury returns a verdict of guilty, or guilty but mentally ill, it will deliberate once again to decide whether Jones should receive life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

If the jury finds Jones not guilty by reason of insanity, Jones will spend 120 days in a state hospital before a judge decides whether he will remain hospitalized or can be released.

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