A Texas jury has stripped right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of primary custody of his children and awarded joint custody to his ex-wife.
A Travis County jury returned the decision shortly before midnight Thursday after nine hours of deliberation. The verdict means Jones will have visitation rights with the children, ages 9, 12 and 14, but that ex-wife Kelly Jones will establish their primary residence.
State District Judge Orlinda Naranjo also announced Kelly Jones will decide where the children will live, The Austin American-Statesman reports.
As the judge read the verdict, Kelly Jones quietly dabbed her eyes with a tissue, while Alex Jones — famous for his emotional eruptions on-air as host of Infowars — simply stared at Naranjo. The newspaper said his mien was “serious but he otherwise betrayed no emotion.”
In closing arguments, Alex Jones’ attorney told the jury that the children were thriving under his client’s care and that he should remain the sole caregiver. His attorney referred to Jones as a “performance artist,” whose explosive outbursts on air were part of an act. The lawyer portrayed Kelly Jones as self-absorbed and emotionally unstable.
Kelly Jones’ attorney countered that the bombastic broadcast personality, who has called the 2012 Sandy Hook school killings a hoax, is a “cult leader” who was turning their children against his ex-wife in what she called “parental alienation syndrome.”
“Mr. Jones is like a cult leader,” attorney Robert Hoffman said. “The children appear to be cult followers, doing what daddy wants them to do.”
After the verdict, Kelly Jones told the American-Statesman she was “so grateful to God that he has kept me and my family strong through this.”
“I just pray that from what’s happened with my family people can really understand what parental alienation syndrome is and get an awareness of it and we can stop this from happening in the future,” she said.
H/t reader kevin a.
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