A trial this week could shed some light on the mystery behind the gruesome death of a 19-year-old MS woman who was set on fire and left to die beside her burning auto.
Day 2 of testimony is underway in the capital murder trial of Quinton Tellis, charged in the death of Jessica Chambers.
Quinton Tellis, 29, is accused of killing Chambers, a former high school cheerleader from Courtland, Miss., who was found along a back road near a tree farm almost three years ago.
Former Courtland Fire Chief Cole Haley became very emotional on the stand, crying as he described the extent of Chambers' injuries when he found her burned on the side of the road.
If convicted of the Chambers murder, Tellis would spend the rest of his life in prison. Tellis has not admitted to killing the victim.
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Defense attorney Darla Palmer's questioning Wednesday with first responders was spent going through their written statements, which were from 12 hours to two days after the incident and before Tellis was named a person of interest.
During opening statements on Tuesday, District Attorney John Champion conceded the name of the man he's prosecuting is not the name of she stated. He also said that Tellis had repeatedly asked Chambers for sex, and she had told him no. State prosecutors have said Chambers said something to firefighters when she was found, but they have not revealed her words.
"She didn't say any other name", Palmer said.
"At one point I even laid down beside her", said Cole, fighting back tears.
"She said 'Eric set me on fire,"' Palmer said.
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Authorities have said previously that Chambers was on fire when she was found. Wednesday, she asked them to read their statements, many of which emphasize Chambers' accusation that Eric was responsible for setting her on fire.
Palmer told jurors that Tellis never confessed to the killing. "Her hair was completely singed".
Tellis has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Jessica Chambers. Prosecutors have reportedly said they will call approximately 35-40 witnesses. Records showed that her client was buying a Green Dot card 5 miles away at the time of the crime, she said. No trial date has been set in that case.
Daniel Cole, the Director of Emergency Operations in the county, wrote a report saying he arrived on the roadside where Chambers' vehicle was ablaze to find her covered in blankets on the ground with first responders.
In an unrelated case, he has been indicted for murder in the death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, a 34-year-old Taiwanese graduate student in Louisiana.
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