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Suspect believed he accidentally suffocated Jessica Chambers during before torching car and victim: Prosecutors

October 12, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Suspect believed he accidentally suffocated Jessica Chambers during before torching car and victim: Prosecutors

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Jessica Chambers murder trial

The man accused of murdering 19-year-old Jessica Chambers in Mississippi reportedly burned her alive in her vehicle after mistakenly believing he had suffocated her.

On Tuesday, the trial started for 29-year-old Quinton Tellis on  who has pleaded not guilty in the December 2014 slaying of Jessica Chambers.

While prosecutors believe Tellis is responsible, a defense lawyer said Chambers told firefighters who discovered her near her burning vehicle that a man named Eric set the vehicle on fire – not the suspect.

The former high school cheerleader had been soaked with a flammable liquid, set on fire, and left to die next to her burning car.

Prosecutors said Tellis burned Chambers burned alive in her car after he mistakenly thought he had suffocated her during sex

Prosecutor John Champion told the jury that they will view graphic pictures of a burned Chambers and they will hear from roughly 35 witnesses, The Daily Mail reported.

Chambers had burns across 93% of her body when she was found along a rural road in 2014. She succumbed to her injuries hours later at a hospital in Memphis.

He said Tellis repeatedly lied to detectives about spending time with her in the hours before she was discovered. He also added that Tellis had repeatedly solicited sex from Chambers, and she had rejected him.

Champion said phone records show that Chambers and Tellis – who had met about two weeks prior to her death and had become friends – were together twice on the day she was killed.

The pair rode around in her vehicle for a while that morning before Chambers dropped off Tellis at his home and she went home to nap.

The trial began on Tuesday for Quinton Tellis, 29 (above), in the brutalmurder of 19-year-old Jessica Chamblers

Chambers then picked up Tellis that evening and went to a fast food restaurant.

Tellis told investigators that the duo had sex in her car later that night.

Champion alleges that Tellis suffocated the victim and believed he had killed her.

Tellis then took Chambers’s car with her inside it to the back road, drove the car to his sister’s home, jumped in his sister’s car, stopped to get gas from a shed at his home and burned Chambers’ car and her.

“Horrific burns,” Champion added. “Horrific pain.”

Chambers was discovered walking on the road – wearing just in 40F temperatures – when a passing driver notcied her shortly after 8pm.

Chambers had burns on about 93 percent of her body when she was found along a rural back road beside her burnt out car (pictured) on December 6, 2014

Her car keys were later recovered nearby, with Tellis’s DNA on them.

Officials have said that Chambers was still on fire when she was discovered.

Tellis first told investigators he only saw Chambers earlier that morning.

Tellis later admitted they were together in the evening, saying he met her to give her weed and that he had sex with her in her car.

Defense lawyer Darla Palmer meanwhile maintains that her client is wrongly accused. She added that Tellis was buying a pre-paid debit card miles away at the time Chambers was attacked.

Palmer also added that eight first responders who assisted Jessica Chambers asked her if she knew who was responsible.

“She said ‘Eric set me on fire,'” Palmer stated. “She didn’t say any other name.”

Several first responders who discovered Chambers testified on  Wednesday how Chambers suffered such horrific burns she was barely able to speak.

“She was sitting on a blanket. Her hair was singed … soot all around her nose and her mouth … blistering all over her body,” an emotional Daniel Cole, director of emergency operations for Panola County, told jurors.

“At one point I even laid down beside her, and asked ‘who set you on fire’ she responded “Eric,” Cole stated.

In his opening statement, Champion recognized that the first responders did hear her say the name “Eric” or “Derek.” Champion argued that she could have been saying “Tellis,” but the damage caused to her throat could have made it sound different.

Palmer told jurors that Tellis never admitted to the murder.

About 20,000 phone numbers were analyzed in the probe. Witnesses will include phone data experts.

Tellis could face life behind bars without parole if found guilty of capital murder. He also faces another murder indictment in Louisiana.

The 29-year-old is accused of the torture and murder of Meing-Chen Hsiao, a 34-year-old Taiwanese grad student at the University of Louisiana. No trial date has been scheduled in that case.

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