Five years ago, the brutal murder of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers captured national attention. Her boyfriend, Travis Sanford, had a rock-solid alibi; he was in prison for an unrelated crime at the time of her death. In an eerie coincidence, Sanford’s life has also ended in murder. Police have two people in custody, with an unnamed male as the primary shooting suspect.
No motives have been released yet, so it’s impossible to know if there’s any connection between the two murders. Fox13 announced that the deadly shooting took place at approximately 7:30 a.m. on March 15, as Sanford was at a home in Courtland, Mississippi. There were two young children in the house, along with Sanford’s current girlfriend.
According to The Clarion-Ledger, the shooter was fleeing from the home when shots were fired at Sanford, who was hit by a single buckshot fired from a shotgun. The 33-year-old victim was taken to a local hospital but couldn’t be revived. The killer was allegedly inside the home for a long period of time before the situation got out of control. It’s unknown if the suspect and Sanford were friends or had some type of business dealings with each other.
Sanford’s former girlfriend, Chambers, died from extensive burns in 2014. She had been inside a car that was set on fire but managed to get free of the vehicle. By the time firefighters found her, she’d been stripped down to her underwear and had suffered from burns over 93 percent of her body.
A suspect in the Chambers case, Quinton Tellis, has been tried for her murder twice. Both times resulted in a mistrial. The Daily Mail reported that Tellis is currently in jail for credit card fraud and was recently charged with another murder. Jurors were likely unable to make a decision about whether or not Tellis set Chambers on fire due to one crucial piece of evidence — EMTs and firefighters at the scene said Chambers claimed that her assailant’s name was Eric or Derrick, not Quinton.
In an odd twist, Jessica Chambers and Travis Sanford were both attacked in the same small Mississippi town. Courtland only has 503 residents, but Best Places does indicate that it has a disproportionally high crime rate. In fact, Courtland’s violent crime rate is 50.2 out of 100, which is much higher than the 31.1 national average.
A medical examination and autopsy are being performed on Sanford’s body in the hopes of finding additional evidence. Until more details are released, Courtland residents can only speculate about whether there’s any link at all between the officially unsolved slaying of Jessica Chambers and Travis Sanford’s shooting death.