The 2014 murder of Jessica Chambers, 19, is finally getting its day in court. After the young girl was burned alive in Mississippi, her family is receiving long-awaited answers. And, her alleged killer is talking…
Jessica Chambers‘ family is finally getting some answers into her tragic death, three years later. The 19-year-old former cheerleader, was found burned alive on a backroad in Mississippi on Dec. 6, 2014. The trial surrounding her death began this week. And, on Tuesday, Oct. 10, prosecutors said Quinton Tellis, 29 — the main suspect, who has been indicted for her murder — has pleaded not guilty. Tellis faces life in prison without parole, if convicted.
Prosecutors said Tellis allegedly burned Chambers alive next to her car, after he mistakenly thought he had suffocated her. Tellis reportedly suffocated Chambers during sex, according to Daily Mail. District Attorney, John Champion of Panola County said he believed Tellis suffocated Chambers and “thought he had killed her,” but realized she was still alive. That’s when Champion alleged that Tellis drove Chambers’ car, with her inside of it, to the back road, went to his sister’s house nearby, got in his sisters’ car, stopped to pick up gasoline from a shed at his house and torched Chambers’ car and her [via CBS News].
Tellis and Chambers had only met 14 days prior to her death. When authorities found Chambers, she was still alive, despite being burned on over 98 percent of her body.
When firefighters found her — after someone had seen her walking, while still on fire — prosecutors detailed that she was wearing nothing but underwear in 40-degree weather. While first responders tried to help Chambers, Champion, said she attempted to name her killer. Multiple firefighters who aided the teen said Chambers told them someone named “Eric” or “Derek” burned her. However, the damage to her body made it difficult for them to make out the exact name she tried to say. Chambers was airlifted to a Memphis hospital, where she died about four hours later.
Champion said Tellis had repeatedly lied to investigators about spending time with Chambers on the day she was found. The DA also said that cellphone records show that Chambers and Tellis were together on two occasions on the day she was burned. Champion said her car keys were later discovered near the area she was found, with Tellis’s DNA on them.
Defense Attorney, Darla Palmer claimed her client, Tellis, is wrongly accused, as reported by Daily Mail. She said Tellis was purchasing a pre-paid debit card miles away in Batesville at the time Chambers was burned. Palmer also told jurors that Tellis never confessed to the murder.
Tellis is also facing another murder indictment in Louisiana in connection with the killing of a college foreign exchange student. He’s accused of being involved in the torture death [in July 2015] of Meing-Chen Hsiao, 34, a Taiwanese graduate student at the University of Lousiana at Monroe. He was extradited to Mississippi from Louisiana in June after pleading guilty to fraudulent use of Hsiao’s card.