Second Mistrial Declared In The Murder Of Jessica Chambers

In 2014, 19-year-old Jessica Chambers was found dead by the side of the road, her body scorched after it had been doused with fuel and set on fire. The prime suspect in her murder, Quinton Tellis, went on trial last year for her murder, but it ended in a mistrial. Now, People reports that the second trial for the murder of the Mississippi teen has also ended in a mistrial.

State officials have said they are unsure if they will attempt to prosecute Tellis again. Currently, he is being sent to Louisiana to await trial for the murder of Meing-Chen Hsiao. Though Tellis pleaded not guilty in the stabbing death of 34-year-old Hsiao, he did admit to using her debit card.

The first mistrial in the murder of Chambers occurred last October. At the time, the jurors were so unsure of a verdict that Judge Gerald Chatham ordered them to deliberate three times before acknowledging that they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”

Prosecutors went about building their case against Tellis for a new set of jurors in the second trial. They outlined how phone records indicated that Tellis and Chambers were in the same small town of Courtland on December 6, 2014, the day of Chambers’ attack.

They add that though Chambers tried to cast off Tellis’ sexual advances, the two ended up having sex. Then, Tellis allegedly set Chambers and her car on fire. Hours later, Chambers passed away in a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She had burns on 98 percent of her body.

Tellis’ defense team says that there is no evidence tying their client to Chambers on the day of the attack. They addressed the allegation that Chambers had named her killer before she passed, and that the person had been named “Eric” or “Derek.” But the prosecution brought out speech pathology expert, Carolyn Higdon, to comment on whether Chambers could have spoken so clearly given the injuries to her mouth and larynx “restricted her ability to articulate words.”

Because of Chambers’ wide array of friendships, many felt her death had to be gang-related. Her father said that some of her friends felt that she was “snitching” on them since her father was an auto mechanic for the Sheriff’s office. In early 2016, District Attorney John Champion stated that Tellis, a “gang member, and habitual offender” had been charged with Chambers’ murder.

He felt that whoever killed Chambers had to have known her because her death felt “very, very personal. Someone meant to cause her great pain.” When asked about the verdict in Monday’s trial, Champion said the Chambers’ family was upset.

“They wanted resolution just like we all did.”

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