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Jury to decide if dad should die after he killed his 5 kids

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FILE - Tim Jones looks around the courtroom during his trial in Columbia, S.C., Monday, May 20, 2019. 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. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)

Defense attorneys for a South Carolina father who killed his five children unsuccessfully argued earlier this week that he was insane when he killed them.

Now they are expected to argue that Timothy Jones Jr.'s mental problems mean he shouldn't be executed for the murders of the children, ages 1 to 8.

The same jurors who convicted Jones on Tuesday return to the Lexington County Courthouse on Thursday to begin hearing evidence in a second trial. They can unanimously choose to give Jones, 37, the death penalty. Otherwise he will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors are expected to call witnesses including Jones' ex-wife, the mother of the children, to testify how much pain their deaths have caused. Amber Kyzer also testified in the guilt phase , breaking down into heaving sobs as she read a letter she wrote her children about how sorry she was that she couldn't be in their lives and her marriage fell apart.

Prosecutors also are expected to have experts testify about how the children suffered . Four were strangled by Jones after he exercised the other child to death over a broken electrical outlet, according to Jones' confession to police.

Jones' lawyers will try to get jurors to sympathize with him as they ask for mercy. Jones put himself through college while married with children, landing an $80,000-a-year computer engineer job in Columbia, according to earlier testimony.

But his wife, tired of Jones' religious beliefs that required her to be submissive and stay home without a car, then left him for a teenage neighbor and Jones started using synthetic marijuana to cope with growing stress over being a single father that made his undiagnosed schizophrenia worse, his lawyers said.

The sentencing phase should last several days.

The trial is being livestreamed at the Lexington County courthouse.

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Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.

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