LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Amber Kyzer, the ex-wife of a Lexington County man who was found guilty of murdering his five children in 2014, took the stand and asked jurors not to sentence Timothy Jones Jr. to death.
Kyzer, who was married to Jones for eight years, said she does not believe in putting anyone to death.
“If I could personally rip his face off, I would,” she said on the witness stand Tuesday afternoon. “That’s the momma bear in me. I do not wish on the Jones family what I felt losing my sons.”
While Kyzer expressed anger toward Jones, she pleaded for his life on behalf of her children.
“He did not show my children mercy by any means, but my kids loved him and if I’m speaking on behalf of my kids and not myself, that’s what I would have to say,” she testified. “I’m not here for me. The mom in me wants him to feel everything that I feel, that my kids felt. Nothing justifies, nothing justifies what you’ve done.”
At one point, Kyzer turned to look directly at Jones Jr., who was sitting at the defendant’s table. As she told him the children loved him and at one time, she loved him, he began to cry, wiping his eyes with a handkerchief.
Before and after testifying early on in the trial, Kyzer has not been seen in the courtroom. However, she told the jury she has been keeping up with the live streaming of the trial and has experienced mixed emotions related to Jones Jr.’s punishment.
“I didn’t have the chance to hear everything that happened to my children, what had literally happened to them, or what happened that night or the things that led up this, I wasn’t aware fully,” she said. “So I was finding out along with you guys and the world what had happened to my children. So in retrospect, the mom in me was like, fry him, fry him, absolutely. But from the beginning, I have maintained—I’m not a death penalty—I’m a strong believer in no death penalty.”
During her testimony, she also told the jury of alleged abuse she experienced while married to Jones. She testified on numerous occasions, Jones would spit in her face, headbutt her and slammed her head into a car window. Much of this abuse, she testified, their five children witnessed. She also testified Jones told her “he’d chop me up and feed me to pigs because they’d eat everything except for my teeth and no one would ever find me.”
In 2012, when the marriage came to an end, she told the jury she had joint custody of her children. However, because she didn’t have a job, a car or a license, she felt it was in her children’s best interest to live with Jones and give him primary custody.
“I had nothing to offer my children, I could not provide for them,” she said. “As a mother, I made the best decision I could. I trusted my husband at the time. He promised to take care of our children.”
Kyzer said she secured a job, got a license and obtained her high school diploma to prove to the system she was a fit parent. She testified to rarely missing a visitation with her children.
“I always told my kids they are loved, they are wanted and they are important,” she said.
During cross-examination, Kyzer told the jury on multiple occasions, her ex-husband told her she would never get custody of the children. In the first phase of the trial, prosecutors pointed to that comment as being a motivating factor behind the murders of the children.
The defense is expected to offer several more character witnesses on the stand Wednesday.
Kyzer joined Jones’ grandmother, Roberta Thornsberry, and father, Timothy Jones Sr. as witnesses who have asked the jury not to sentence Jones Jr. to death during the sentencing phase.
Jones was found guilty of five counts of murder on June 4.