SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The South Carolina man accused of killing his five children and dumping their bodies in Alabama was an ex-convict who went on a crime spree more than a decade ago in Illinois, prison documents and a family member confirmed Thursday.
Timothy Ray Jones Jr., now 32, was arrested on a cocaine possession charge March 30, 2001, in Carpentersville, Illinois. Six months later, he was arrested for a crime spree that included stealing a car, burglary and passing forged checks, according to Michael Combs, chief of the criminal division of the McHenry County, Illinois, State’s Attorney’s Office. He was 19 years old at the time.
Jones’ father, Tim Jones Sr., confirmed to The Associated Press that his son grew up in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago and had a criminal record in Illinois.
“Typical teenager doing stupid stuff, that’s about it,” Tim Jones Sr. said by phone from his home in Amory, Mississippi.
His father said his son was an exemplary student and then decided to go into the Navy.
“After that he started hanging in the wrong crowd and got himself in trouble,” his dad said.
Jones Sr. said his son was discharged early from the Navy.
Jones was arrested Sept. 15, 2001, by Crystal Lake police on suspicion of stealing a car. Court records showed Jones had stolen a minivan about a week earlier and later broke into another vehicle.
During this spree, he also passed checks on his father’s account, ranging in amounts from $4 to about $62.
For the crime spree, including another stolen-vehicle charge in another county, he received concurrent six-year terms, and had a year tacked on for the cocaine case.
Jones was imprisoned at Big Muddy Correctional Center on April 18, 2002, and was released on Jan. 15, 2003, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.
Jones and his five children, ages 8, 7, 6, 2 and 1, disappeared two weeks ago, and he was arrested in Mississippi on Saturday when he was stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Authorities say he was alone, with blood and children’s clothes in his SUV and the stench of death in the air.
Jones would lead investigators to his children’s bodies, wrapped in five trash bags on an isolated Alabama hilltop, but it’s still not clear why he killed his children, authorities said.
On Thursday morning, Jones was being extradited to South Carolina to face five murder charges.
Wagster Pettus reported from Jackson. Associated Press writers Jay Reeves in Pine Apple, Alabama; Rogelio Solis in Raleigh, Mississippi and Jeffrey Collins contributed to this report.
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