LEXINGTON, S.C. — The Thursday morning session of the Timothy Jones Jr murder trial in Lexington County Courthouse began with the prosecution cross-examining defense witness Sgt Adam Creech, of the Lexington County Sheriffs Department.

On Sept. 4, 2014, Creech was assigned to the missing persons case involving Tim Jones and his five children — Abigail, 1; Gabriel, 2; Nahtahn, 6; Elias, 7; and Mera Gracie, 8. At the time, there were no indications and no concerns for safety of persons involved. 

Solicitor Rick Hubbard continues cross examination of Creech, asking about the lies Jones told during his interview with Jones in Smith County.

Creech said Jones’ emotions were up and down, then his demeanor changed completely when he said, “Guys lets cut to the chase” and started opening up about the whereabouts of his children. It appeared to Creech that Jones was in control of his emotions.

Hubbard: Once he said Cut to the chase, how was he? 

Creech: Calm. He said he pushed Nahtahn too far; Jones specifically used the word “defiant” to describe the boy. When Mackey directly asked if the boy was punished because of fear or because boy wouldn’t “come off of it,” you could tell the boy was clearly a trigger for Jones.

Jones said (in the interview,) “if he’d just come off if, none of the other children would have been killed.”

Hubbard: What did Jones say about the children after their death?

Creech: He said he wasn’t very careful putting kids in car the kids because they were already dead; he had wrapped the bodies with sheets and blankets from bed; we had to uncover layers of sheets when we got bodies.

Jones described his dilemma was to get rid of evidence, described kids’ bodies as evidence.

When he admitted he got trash bags, wasn’t just for kids “yes, but I had other trash to throw away too”

Hubbard asked about the smell emanating from Jones’ Escalade after the bodies had been in the back seat for a week.

Creech testifies=d that in the interview, Jones said the car “smelled like shit, “ and when asked how he coped with the smell, Jones replied “you just get used to it after a while.”

Hubbard asked Creech if Joes told them why ride around with the bodies? 

Creech: It took a week because he wasn’t ready to let them go.

When asked about Jones’ demeanor during this part of the interview, Creech testified that Jones was very engaged, very focused in helping law enforcement recover the bodies. 

Creech made sure Jones had map, a topographical map showing land elevation. When Hubbard asked Creech about Jones’ state of mind, Creech replied that he could engage Jones in highly technical, intelligent conversations.

Jones sounds matter-of-fact when he’s telling details and focuses on a subject; seemed to Creech that he could turn his emotions on and off.

Creech had different interaction with Jones than Mackey. FBI agent Mackey was more direct with Jones, so Creech took advantage of being the good cop.

Creech testifies that he sat close to Jones, gave him physical reassurances (part of his crisis management training) with hand on shoulder. It seemed to Creech that it was important to Jones that Creech believe him and Creech’s opinion mattered.

He’d confessed so Creech kept up positive reinforcement to keep Jones talking so that they could find the kids.

On the Sept 9, 2014, trip to find the kids, asks Jones to recap incidents of Aug 28. Jones gives basic summary of Nahtahn and PT incident and strangling other kids. Jones then told them that Nahtahn broke a pair of Jones’ prescription glasses costing several 100 dollars. Creech said that Jones became visibly angry, as if still mad with Nahtahn. 

Hubbard asked if Jones mentioned anything about voices in his head; Creech testified that Jones said nothing about voices.

Hubbard asked Creech about the return trip to Smith County, after the bodies were found.

Creech testified that he had the recorder going on the way back to Mississippi. Jones knew the recorder was on and said “my mind was on just putting them out and running.”

Recounting other comments made by Jones during the trip, Creech said Jones said, 

“I was merciless when I put them in there and threw them around.”

“I put them in the car mercilessly and shoved some stuff in there to cover the smell."

Creech testified that Jones believed he’d get caught at some point.

Jones told him, “I’m not on suicide watch either. I promise you, I’m not going that route.”

Jones believed suicide a cardinal sin and he would go to hell. Creech said Jones’ attitude was “definitely Timothy focused.”

At some point in the drive, focus keeps shifting to Nahtahn in the discussion, Jones blaming the boy again, only one of the kids he tried to mutilate; “he was the one I went to because he was the focal point; he was the whole focal point for this whole thing; its centered around him Nahtahn”

Got into a discussion about DSS: Jones believed that Nahtahn had said something to caseworker, Nahtahn and Mera said they wanted to live with Amber; Jones was upset about the kids choosing Amber over him; Amber was another trigger.

When Creech asked Jones: Will we find that you strangled Nahtahn also? Jones replied “I don’t think so.”

Hubbard pointed out that in all of the inventoried items found in Jones’ Escalade, it seemed that Jones remembered to pack his passport.

Defense attorney Rob Madsen on re-direct asked Creech: Jones didn’t have to speak to you?

Creech: He could have strong-armed us and not talked to us, thats true.

Madsen; Once he started mutilation, Jones couldn’t go through with it… and for him, suicide was a cardinal sin 

Creech: “Jones felt he could be forgiven for anything except suicide”

Defense points out that the polygraph taken to Mississippi wasn’t used on Jones; when Jones had something technical to focus on he breezed through it, seemed calm; 

The “cut to the chase” change in emotion “pulled the rug out from us (investigators)”

Madsen: when Jones put the bodies out in Alabama he told you he spent some hours there praying over the bodes 

Creech: “thats what he said he did”

The prosecution asked one final question: Hubbard: Attorney Madsen brought up how much time he spent with the bodies… but he still left them behind for the animals, is that correct? 

Creech: Yes

The Thursday morning session of the Timothy Jones Jr murder trial in Lexington County Courthouse began with the prosecution cross-examining defense witness Sgt Adam Creech, of the Lexington County Sheriffs Department.

On Sept. 4, 2014, Creech was assigned to the missing persons case involving Tim Jones and his five children — Abigail, 1; Gabriel, 2; Nahtahn, 6; Elias, 7; and Mera Gracie, 8. At the time, there were no indications and no concerns for safety of persons involved. 

Solicitor Rick Hubbard continues cross examination of Creech, asking about the lies Jones told during his interview with Jones in Smith County.

Creech said Jones’ emotions were up and down, then his demeanor changed completely when he said, “Guys lets cut to the chase” and started opening up about the whereabouts of his children. It appeared to Creech that Jones was in control of his emotions.

Hubbard: Once he said Cut to the chase, how was he? 

Creech: Calm. He said he pushed Nahtahn too far; Jones specifically used the word “defiant” to describe the boy. When Mackey directly asked if the boy was punished because of fear or because boy wouldn’t “come off of it,” you could tell the boy was clearly a trigger for Jones.

Jones said (in the interview,) “if he’d just come off if, none of the other children would have been killed.”

Hubbard: What did Jones say about the children after their death?

Creech: He said he wasn’t very careful putting kids in car the kids because they were already dead; he had wrapped the bodies with sheets and blankets from bed; we had to uncover layers of sheets when we got bodies.

Jones described his dilemma was to get rid of evidence, described kids’ bodies as evidence.

When he admitted he got trash bags, wasn’t just for kids “yes, but I had other trash to throw away too”

Hubbard asked about the smell emanating from Jones’ Escalade after the bodies had been in the back seat for a week.

Creech testifies=d that in the interview, Jones said the car “smelled like shit, “ and when asked how he coped with the smell, Jones replied “you just get used to it after a while.”

Hubbard asked Creech if Joes told them why ride around with the bodies? 

Creech: It took a week because he wasn’t ready to let them go.

When asked about Jones’ demeanor during this part of the interview, Creech testified that Jones was very engaged, very focused in helping law enforcement recover the bodies. 

Creech made sure Jones had map, a topographical map showing land elevation. When Hubbard asked Creech about Jones’ state of mind, Creech replied that he could engage Jones in highly technical, intelligent conversations.

Jones sounds matter-of-fact when he’s telling details and focuses on a subject; seemed to Creech that he could turn his emotions on and off.

Creech had different interaction with Jones than Mackey. FBI agent Mackey was more direct with Jones, so Creech took advantage of being the good cop.

Creech testifies that he sat close to Jones, gave him physical reassurances (part of his crisis management training) with hand on shoulder. It seemed to Creech that it was important to Jones that Creech believe him and Creech’s opinion mattered.

He’d confessed so Creech kept up positive reinforcement to keep Jones talking so that they could find the kids.

11th Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard
11th Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard shows Tim Jones' passport during cross-examination of Lexington Sheriff's Department Sgt. Adam Creech during the trail of Tim Jones in Lexington. Timothy Jones, Jr. is accused of killing his 5 young children in 2014. Jones, who faces the death penalty, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. 5/23/19
tglantz@thestate.com

On the Sept 9, 2014, trip to find the kids, asks Jones to recap incidents of Aug 28. Jones gives basic summary of Nahtahn and PT incident and strangling other kids. Jones then told them that Nahtahn broke a pair of Jones’ prescription glasses costing several 100 dollars. Creech said that Jones became visibly angry, as if still mad with Nahtahn. 

Hubbard asked if Jones mentioned anything about voices in his head; Creech testified that Jones said nothing about voices.

Hubbard asked Creech about the return trip to Smith County, after the bodies were found.

Creech testified that he had the recorder going on the way back to Mississippi. Jones knew the recorder was on and said “my mind was on just putting them out and running.”

Recounting other comments made by Jones during the trip, Creech said Jones said, 

“I was merciless when I put them in there and threw them around.”

“I put them in the car mercilessly and shoved some stuff in there to cover the smell."

Creech testified that Jones believed he’d get caught at some point.

Jones told him, “I’m not on suicide watch either. I promise you, I’m not going that route.”

Jones believed suicide a cardinal sin and he would go to hell. Creech said Jones’ attitude was “definitely Timothy focused.”

At some point in the drive, focus keeps shifting to Nahtahn in the discussion, Jones blaming the boy again, only one of the kids he tried to mutilate; “he was the one I went to because he was the focal point; he was the whole focal point for this whole thing; its centered around him Nahtahn”

Got into a discussion about DSS: Jones believed that Nahtahn had said something to caseworker, Nahtahn and Mera said they wanted to live with Amber; Jones was upset about the kids choosing Amber over him; Amber was another trigger.

When Creech asked Jones: Will we find that you strangled Nahtahn also? Jones replied “I don’t think so.”

Hubbard pointed out that in all of the inventoried items found in Jones’ Escalade, it seemed that Jones remembered to pack his passport.

Defense attorney Rob Madsen on re-direct asked Creech: Jones didn’t have to speak to you?

Creech: He could have strong-armed us and not talked to us, thats true.

Madsen; Once he started mutilation, Jones couldn’t go through with it… and for him, suicide was a cardinal sin 

Creech: “Jones felt he could be forgiven for anything except suicide”

Defense points out that the polygraph taken to Mississippi wasn’t used on Jones; when Jones had something technical to focus on he breezed through it, seemed calm; 

The “cut to the chase” change in emotion “pulled the rug out from us (investigators)”

Madsen: when Jones put the bodies out in Alabama he told you he spent some hours there praying over the bodes 

Creech: “thats what he said he did”

The prosecution asked one final question: Hubbard: Attorney Madsen brought up how much time he spent with the bodies… but he still left them behind for the animals, is that correct? 

Creech: Yes

>>>>>>>>>>>>> THE FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST

Defense attorney Casey Secor calls Dr Bhushan Agharkar, forensic psychiatrist, practiced and teaches at Emory, now in private practice; treats schizophrenia and personality disorders in adults; member American Psychiatric Society; consultant to FBI, DOD and US Army; Georgia Tech.

Agharkar was hired by Jones’ defense team and is paid by the state of South Carolina as part of the court-appointed defense team — paid so far $400/hour — $20,000.

The doctor first saw Tim Jones in 2017, three years after the murders. He was hired to assess Jones, to see if he suffered from any major mental illness.

When doing his psych evaluation, Agharkar testifies he looks at not just what Jones says but how he says it; he reviews Jones’ medical records to understand what’s going on; and Jones’ social history — a person’s upbringing, what they were experiencing, and the environment, to create a 360-view of how they became who they are — includes records of family history because mental illness is genetic. 

Agharkar was provided 262 items to aid in Jones’ evaluation; including medical, occupational, school, substance abuse history, jail records; Jones and his family, competency and criminal; and the previously introduced brain imagery (Dr. Snyder’s report from Wednesday, May 22)

Agharkar testifies that he met with Jones only twice — in early 2017, then again in 2018 — for a total 3 hours. It is Agharkar’s assessment that Tim Jones Jr. is schizophrenic and has a minor cognitive disorder associated with brain damage.

Agharkar  explains that schizophrenic is a thought disorder — a person’s thinking isn’t right, he or she has a break in reality; they may hear, taste, see things others don’t (hallucinate); have paranoid delusions or grandiose delusions; present with disorganization in thought and behavior. Negative symptoms include a flat aspect, and patients may have problems with motivation or initiating social behavior.

It is Agharkar’s opinion that:

violent behavior performed by schizophrenic can be enhanced by drug use

People exist on spectrum, as with a spectrum on any illness, there is a spectrum on schizophrenia. Agharkar gives an example: at a higher level on the spectrum, someone such as  John Nash — the subject of the movie “A Beautiful Mind” — can win a Nobel Prize.

Agharkar goes on to testify that when he makes a diagnosis of impairment, he look at deficits to define disease. For example: the real “Rain Man” guy could tell you what the weather was on any random date but couldn’t tie his shoes and had to rely on his father in daily life.

When the prosecution points out that Jones measured high on scholastic and intelligence tests in his youth, Agharkar counters that intelligence can be measured by IQ — but those tests doesn’t capture everything, such as memory, judgement, etc. High IQ doesn’t mean a person is high functioning.

Agharkar describes the three symptoms of schizophrenia : 

  • Positive: hallucinations and delusions, any sense
  • Negative: social isolation, difficulty initiating activity
  • Cognitive: untreated schizophrenia bad for the rain, ultimately become demented; frontal lobe problems

In the early phase of schizophrenia, a patient doesn’t quite meet diagnosis. To those around him, something is a bit off but still considered normal. Historically, a first psychotic episode usually occurs around age 18, and may present as a patient being socially isolated. Schizophrenia can be hard to diagnose because it appears to be normal teenage behavior that can go on for months or years.

The next phase is a psychotic break. Full blown schizophrenia can manifest between the ages of 18-22, during one’s college years.

Agharkar testifies that schizophrenia is an inherited condition. The prevalence of schizophrenia in the general population = one percent; if parent is schizophrenic your risk is 10x that you will be schizophrenic. 

According to family medical records, Tim Jones’ mother is a diagnosed schizophrenic, Jones’ grandmother was diagnosed with schizophrenia + bipolar disorder; and other family members have a history with mental illness.

Agharkar testifies that Jones suffered from abuse and neglect from his mother: she didn’t feed him, and she left him sitting in cold water as baby; Jones was raised by a grandmother with mental illness. Agharkar testifies that Jones told him he began hearing voices around 10, and began using drugs and alcohol around age 12.

Symptoms of schizophrenia may wax and wane — not all symptoms present all the time. Unless expressing bizarre behaviors or trying to hurt themselves, a schizophrenic person’s actions can be attributed to being weird or off.

It is Agharkar’s opinion that patients cannot control their schizophrenia.

In his practice, Agharkar treated his patients with medication and one-on-one conversation therapy, and group therapy.

Agharkar testified that traumatic brain injury can result from a severe blow to the head, it does not necessarily have to be a skull fracture.

He explains the frontal lobe sits behind eyes and nose — behind sharp bones. The most common type of brain injury causes deficit of judgement, lack of inhibition, more impulsive behavior, and modulation of emotions. 

Signs can include change in behavior after injury.

When asked if there is a correlation between injury and drug use and homelessness? Agharkar  answers “Yes.”

When asked if brain injury trauma and schizophrenia symptoms can overlap, Agharkar answers that a person can be a jerk, irritable, aggressive, have bad memory, their concentration may be off —common things that brain injury trauma patients and schizophrenics could present.

After the first injury, with any subsequent injury, the more times you get hit the worse the outcomes become.

Tim reports voices at age 10 telling him to kill himself; substance abuse at 12; a car accident at 15; complains of depression around 18. The US Navy dismissed him over mental issues; after his divorce, Jones turned to alcohol and marijuana. Her point is that these behaviors are self reported by Jones. How can Agharkar be sure that Jones isn’t faking it?

Agharkar says that the neuro-psychological tests (MRIs from Wednesday) show frontal lobe disfunction and problems with memory

Agharkar testifies that he saw presenting factors in Jones and that Jones masked symptoms of decision making and intelligence; there is no barrier to schizophrenia, a person can be very smart and still have it.

How he know Jones isn’t faking? It is Agharkar’s opinion that Jones is not faking because people can tell you they hallucinate, but as a doctor, you look for symptoms — flat aspect, low range of motion; Jones gets disorganized (brain disorder), been treated with medication for years (he says he feels better today), and the brain scan shows a defect.

Dr. Bhushan Agharkar
Dr. Bhushan Agharkar testifies for the defense that Tim Jones has schizophrenia and brain damage during the trail of Tim Jones in Lexington. Timothy Jones, Jr. is accused of killing his 5 young children in 2014. Jones, who faces the death penalty, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. 5/23/19
tglantz@thestate.com

On cross-examination, Deputy Solicitor Suzanne Mayes asks Agharkar about his work on this case. 

Agharkar admits that he is always hired by defense lawyers, always testifies for defense; 

Late 2016 was Agharkar’s first contact with Jones. Two years after his arrest, Jones’ symptoms met the diagnosis of schizophrenia. 

There is no opinion to Jones’ state of mind on Aug 28, 2014 — no opinion of criminal responsibility. Agharkar is not determining if Jones knew right from wrong the day of the murders, but at time of meeting Jones in 2016, he met criteria for schizophrenia. 

Mayes presses: You met Jones for the first time 2 1/2 years after murders, for 2 hours and 15 minutes; and another time in 2018 for 1 hour 15 minutes. A total time of roughly 3 1/2 hours, and you relied on historic records, family history; history of delusion and hallucinations that was self reported.

Isn’t it true that mentally ill people can be unreliable, withhold information when it suits them.

Agharkar didn’t interview Jones about the incident, but was aware of what Jones said from law enforcement records; Agharkar was aware of Undersheriff Patterson’s question about children and Jones responses about “no children,” then “3 children,” and that “the children were put out at Walmart, leading investigators to believe that they might be alive in South Carolina.”

Mayes asks Agharkar if he was aware that Jones came up with lies to explain away purchases from Walmart

Agharkar testifies that he didn’t recall details of case

Mayes: Jones gave a lot of versions of why the things were the way they were

Agharkar: Jones says drug experimentation began in teens, he used Spice after the divorce, during the 3 month period before the killings. Agharkar thinks Jones said that he used Spice daily and he used it the day of the killing.

Mayes says Jones told detectives he didn’t use Spice.

She continues: If he did use spice, the side effects are paranoia, hallucination.

Agharkar testifies that Jones told him that Spice quieted the voices, and that he had no adverse reaction when he used it.

When he first met him, Agharkar testifies that Jones had restricted range of activity, and presented a flat aspect; even though Jones was highly medicated with the atypical-antipsychotic Geodon, he was able to have conversation with Agharkar.

Mayes asks about the ultimate effect of Geodon on Jones.

Agharkar testified that he relied on testing results that were provided by Jones’ defense team.

Mayes asks about the results of test in 2016 showed Jones testing an IQ of 89; BUT did Agharkar know that in 2014 Jones was a computer engineer, had earlier graduated summa cum laude at Georgia Tech, exceeded expectations at his engineering job at Intel, was even promoted at Intel.

Only after incarceration and prescribed drug dosage, does Jones IQ test at 89. 

Agharkar testifies that the test administrator believed results, and Agharkar believes it shows cognitive function reduction, one of the hallmarks of schizophrenia.

Agharkar reiterates that his exam on Jones was not about Jones’ state of mind at the time of the incident but of Jones’ state of mind in 2016 to 2018.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> THE DEFENSE’S INVENTORY OF THE JONES’ HOME

As part of the defense team it was Brenton Sadreameli’s job to take inventory of the belongings in the Jones family home in Red Bank.

Some of the items that Sadreameli catalogued include books titles: The Long Journey; The New International Version of the Bible Promise Book; At the Name of Jesus; The Oneness of God; Basics of Biblical Hebrew (a textbook); My First Reader Book of Prayers (a children’s book); Hebrew translation to English dictionary (from Amber); binder of worksheets to learn Hebrew; a folder of handwritten Hebrew and translations; The New Birth Volume 2; Complete Guide to Bible Prophesy; Practical Holiness Volume 4; In Search of Holiness Volume 3.

Sadreameli also collected a Red Bull can used to smoke Spice; 3 bags Scooby Snax; textbook Biblical Hebrew 1-30; My Favorite Bible Story Book; Beautiful Bible stories; a spiral notebook of BIS Advanced Language, Spring 2011; a child’s navy blue t-shirt with religious insignia; children workbook Elias; spiral notebook with drawings “Daddy is Good”; 4 children books; a black and white composition book with Mera’s name on it; a coloring book; a writing text book (Nahtahn); a writing book (Mera Gracie); a homemade construction paper book; hand made signs with the words “Repent,” “Baptised,” and “Holy Ghost” written on them; a childs drawing with “Mommy come back… You have to stay so we can be happy, Mera”; and other children’s drawings and school work organized in manila folder

Boyd asked if this was all that was there and Sadreameli says that some items that we originally found in the Red Ban mobile home are now with Amber, Tim Jones Sr, and other relatives.

On cross examination, solicitor Hubbard asks: This is what Jones abandoned at his home. All this stuff, all the kids stuff was left in the house?

Sadreameli: Yes

Hubbard: So he left it at the house, like he wasn’t coming back

Sadreameli: I guess

>>>>>>>>>>>>> THE PREACHER

Pastor Micah Sutton, of Sylvania, Ohio, comes from ministry/missionary family. He is a former pastor in the United Pentecostal Church; he left UPC to become non-denominational because in his opinion, the UPC are too rigid in their interpretation of bible.

In 2003, Sutton founded Center Point Church in Lombard, Illinois. This is where he met Tim Jones Jr. 

Sutton testifies that Jones called church, just released from prison and looking for place to worship; Sutton drove over and picked him up and Tim began attending Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday services.

It was Sutton that married Tim and Amber at Center Point. At the time, Amber was not really a church member.

Boyd asks Sutton if Tim’s dedication to Christianity authentic?

Sutton: Yes

Was he normal or excessive? 

Sutton: Tim was intense, he exceeded most people’s faith — of people I’ve known, Tim had the inability to differentiate what he was hearing in church and applying it in the practical world. Tim had complete sincerity… a prodigious memory. Someone would make statement and Tim would quote scripture. He had an incredible memory but had trouble with application. 

Did he ask about christianity?

Sutton: Tim always wanted to know more. He called me once at 2 am. (Sutton says he remembers because he and his wife had an infant that they were dealing with, trying to get to sleep and the phone rang in the middle of the night) Tim called to ask “what was Jeremiah talking about when he says the great speckled bird?”

So Tim have trouble with boundaries?

Sutton: When to say and not say a thing; he seems like a man trying to take the Bible and have It explain the world around him

Did Tim want leadership role in church? 

Sutton: Yes.

Sutton wouldn’t allow it and that was on part what made Tim leave Cedar Point Church. 

“The ability to quote the Bible is a wonderful gift, but if you can’t explain it to people without criticizing people it does no good.”

Sutton: Tim came to me one day and said he was moving on because — in Tim’s mind — Sutton’s wife was trying to seduce him through provocative actions and outfits. Sutton said that it was completely outside of her character.

Sutton testified that when he wanted to listen, he was intense and wanted to learn; when he found something he believed to be true, Jones would get hard-headed, and it was difficult to communicate with him. There was no point in talking at all until Jones calmed down.

Worship as important to Tim, Sutton said. “Speaking in tongues and praying in tongues, allowing God to speak through you. In that, Tim would seem calmer, would calm down visibly, specifically speaking in tongues.

“I think when a church is small, people who have no where else to fit in would come to church. Tim was trying to find a place to be.”

Sutton testified that the Tim today is the “calm Tim” from 14 years ago.

Hubbard: Do you think he understood most basic of concepts? Thou shall not kill?

Sutton: Yes

>>>>>>>>>>>>> THE COUNSELOR

April Hames, grew up in Columbia, and specializes in marriage and family therapy, and child relations

Defense attorney Boyd Young asked Hames how she met Tim Jones Jr.

Hames: On May 3, 2012, Tim came to office alone for marriage therapy; Tim said Amber had no drivers license and was at home and couldn’t get to office; Tim said Amber had no interest in doing a conference call. She testifies that she and Jones worked on making Tim best man and best husband he could be.

We discussed religious beliefs, Tim’s strict adherence to scripture was very conservative and old fashioned.

Jones complained of anxiety, poor sleeping, he was unable to trust others, he was filled with anger and suspicion….

Hames testifies that Jones told her “Due to childhood issues I feel like I’m carrying baggage into my marriage. What do I need to do to relieve these anxieties?”

As soon as Tim sat down, he was tearful — as if he had waited a long time to come in for counseling; Jones believed his martial issues were larger than he could work out on his own.

Hames said that Jones had issues with mother. Jones told Hames his mom was hospitalized with schizophrenia. 

Hames said that Tim didn’t have the bond with a parent at an early age that would insure a safe, happy life.

He suspected that his wife Amber had kissed someone. His suspicion made him experience times when his father would go to work and his step-mom would have an affair while his father was out. Tim described a huge fear of monster inside that Amber would be unfaithful to him.

Hames said that Jones told her that when he first met Amber, “I opened up like a rose that bloomed.”

To Hames, it seemed like the two of them had a bond.

Hames saw Jones a second time on 9th. Tim said monster wanted control — to know more about what happened with Amber when he went to work; Jones said Amber told him she couldn’t be near him when the monster came out. Jones appeared to be very intelligent, she could talk about theoretical ideas with Tim.

05/09/12: in context of abandonment, Hames said she asked about Tim’s worst fear — it was that Amber would get a job, be with the man Tim thought she was having an affair with, and leave him.

Hames asked if he would get physically violent: in the context of having an argument, he said he pushed her away from him but didn’t hit her.

05/23/12: Jones bought liquor for mothers day, unknown who he bought it for. Hames said Tim told her, “only problem with drinking to drown your problems is that the problems float.”

06/21/12: Tim had been in Mississippi visiting family, the children were left with Amber. Tim returned early to find a male neighbor in his home with Amber. Tim said guy got scared, but Tim said the only thing he did was to reach out and shake his neighbor’s hand. Tim began smoking and drinking heavily and shifted his primary focus from his marriage to safety of the kids.

Hames testifies that Jones; biggest fear now was loneliness; in relation to kids: struggling with kids not growing up with their mother as he as done without his.

Hames wrote letter to Dr Lesley West concerning Tim’s childhood issues impacting him in adult life; Tim was beginning to have social and work issues and considered an intervention so Tim could sleep and concentrate on his work, he had anxiety.

06/28/12: Tim is drinking: hadn’t drunk in 8 years, drinking heavily now; not drinking as much, “not gettin slam drunk”

Hames wrote an affidavit letter for Tim so he could get custody of his children in family court.

07/24/12: Tim was worrying about where the kids should live? Tim said he wanted kids in Lexington One school district because the schools were good. Jones’ said that he had been married 8 years, and was very angry on his wedding anniversary

8/21/12: Tim made an organized plan. He had taken things out of martial residence and the kids were with his family in Mississippi. Tim was finding a new place to live and planned to put kids in Saxe Gotha when the school year started.

9/12/12: The kids in school, Tim is frustrated with Amber. He js upset with what she misrepresented homeschool-wise, and the children were behind and Tim “wanted to strangle her.” He didn’t want to harm her, it was just a phrase/figure of speech. Tim said he was stretched thin with the kids and mommy issues. He didn’t want to bring women in and out of his life, to start dating again. He was figuring out fatherhood and trying do the right thing; talking about his own monsters

10/17/12: Tim said Amber hadn’t seen kids since June. Amber had started promising what she’d do for the kids if he let her back into their lives. He thought movies she wanted to give them were not age appropriate. On the subject of disciplining his children, Tim said to Hames “foolishness is bound into the heart a child but the rod will drive it out of them.” Spanking was appropriate, he believed in corporal punishment. 

11/14/12: Amber gave kids the movies, Mera started to cry when Amber left, kids behind in school. Elias was intelligent and catching up, Mera taking longer, Tim worked with them on homework, really important for them to be at a certain level in school; thought Mera would never get there; personally, Tim was “pissed off” that Amber had gone four months without seeing kids

12/19/12: Jones talked about the kids going to therapy; Hames recalls a conversation where she told him that she could connect them with someone with more expertise for the kids; he Tim seemed excited; Intel’s employee assistance program allowed once a month sessions for him and some more for the kids; Tim didn’t know how to handle the period discussion with Mera and was already anticipating that discussion; kids were referred to Dr Kim Bender.

Hames recalls seeing the live-in nanny with kids. Hames says it was the happiest moment she had seen, when Tim was with the kids. Tim came from Intel on his lunch period to spend time with the kids, they were crawling over him and he seemed happy.

01/15/13: Hames saw Tim, he brought up monster, the stimulus was gone — that Amber was cheating on him. Tim said he had gotten to that point, cried it out, and felt significant change; Hames says Tim told her that Mera wasn’t crying as much, the kids were catching up in school and asking him to get them another mommy, and that Elias was his little buddy; Tim felt bad for the kids (mommy issues), and conflicted about dating (finding another mommy)

Hames records show Tim has major depressive disorder, non-specified medical disorder (billing codes), not psychotic

On cross, Assistans solicitor Shawn Graham asked Hames: my understanding is you saw Tim Jones 14 times between May 2012 and January 2013. He came to you about marital problems and anxiety. Everything in your treatment came from what Jones told you.

Hames: yes, unless there is evidence to the contrary, you have to assume someone is telling the truth

Graham: You had to have some sort of diagnosis for EAP (Intel’s Employee Assistance Program) to pay

Hames: I wrote unspecified non-psychotic disorder; there was paranoia from wife’s infidelity and there was anxiety, but he was not psychotic

Graham: Then you changed it to moderate depression. Could it be situational, such as going through a divorce?

Hames: Moderate depression, recurrent, not necessarily situational

Graham: The second time you saw him he asked you not to wear heels…

Hames: I stood up at the end of the season and wearing 2-3 inch heels, I towered over him and he asked me not to wear heels (she didn’t do it)

Graham: Ever ask about hair, makeup, clothing? 

Hames: No

Graham: He said Amber had no job, Amber had no car, Amber had no high school diploma…

Hames: yes

Graham: He talks about a monster? He was experiencing fear of abandonment and jealousy?

Hames: He was able to have theoretical conversations about where the monster was coming from

Graham: Tim Jones never told you the monster was voices in his head?

Hames: No

Graham: The monster was his thoughts

Hames: That’s how it was presented to me, yes

Graham: In the councilling notes Mr Young went through, the kids were in Mississippi and Amber went to get them. Tim’s father wouldn’t let her have them, Tim didn’t want Amber to have them.

Hames: That is true

Graham: On Aug 21, Jones tried to revoke Amber’s rights as a parent, right?

Hames: He said he wanted to space out the hearings for the divorce and revoke her rights because she wouldn’t have seen them in six months

Graham: But the kids were in Mississippi and she was turned away when she went to see them

After a pause, Graham asks Hames to explain symptoms of schizophrenia. 

She explains her background, educational and medical: she can make diagnoses of mental disease.

Graham asks her to explain to the jury the three key features of schizophrenia: 

  • delusion— although not always present, a belief in something that is not based in reality, Jones presented no delusions
  • hallucinations — any of the five senses, sensing something that is not there but real to the patient
  • disorganized speech or thoughts — consistent with Jones situation (divorce) at the time

There are also two negative symptoms of the disease: 

  • diminished emotional expression —inability to emote with highs and lows, just a medium, “flat” tone
  • abolition — decreased self initiated mobile ability, Tim expressed opposite, he worked out at gym, started define muscles, active in church, out of state to visit relatives

If Jones had presented any of these traits, Hames would have made a note of it in her records and referred him to another doctor

Graham: After June 28, 2012, Jones had contacted attorney to get emergency custody hearing to get custody of children and he wanted (Hames) to write affidavit to ensure he could get the kids

Hames: He made plans for something if he wanted it.

Graham: He didn’t tell you of his criminal past or drug use. All you knew is what he told you?

Hames: yes

Graham: If he said he was hearing voices, having hallucinations or any other problems you wouldn’t have written the letter?

Hames: no

On redirect from Young: You haven’t reviewed the scans of Tims brain injury?

Hames: No

Young: Is it possible traumatic brain injury can cause personality disorder?

Hames: Yes but I am not a medical doctor and the questions may be beyond my scope. Tim and Amber were broken up, Amber was pregnant the baby was Tim’s; he realized he hadn’t been a good husband to her, he was yelling at her a lot; he went to visit Amber and was very conflicted. He said he tired to use logic to balance the feelings his heart; if they got back together she would have to clean the house and spend more time with the kids. He set up conditions for Amber to live or be near her cousins and allowed the kids to call her. Later, Tim says Amber wants to get together, he calls her bluff and she backs down.

Young asks if it is possible to mask symptoms of schizophrenia 

Hames: yes

Graham counters that it is possible to fake symptoms of schizophrenia 

Hames: yes

>>>>>>>>>>>>> THE CHARGES

Jones has admitted to killing his children on Aug. 28, 2014, after picking them up from school and daycare. The killings took place at the family home at 2155-B South Lake Dr. in Red Bank.

He was arrested on Sept. 6, 2014, after a traffic safety stop in Smith County, Mississippi, during which law enforcement officers discovered blood and handwritten notes on how to mutilate bodies in Jones’ car. Jones had left the children’s bodies in plastic trash bags in a wooded area outside of Camden, Alabama. He had been traveling throughout the South with the bodies in the back of his car since Aug. 28.

Jones has pled guilty by reason of insanity. His guilty plea would allow one of four possible outcomes in the trial: guilty, guilty by reason of insanity, not guilty by mental defect, or not guilty.

If found guilty, the death penalty would not be automatic. Jurors would then be asked to consider extenuating circumstances and could sentence Jones to life without parole rather than death.

Witness testimony will resume Friday morning.