Suspect Indicted in Burning Death of Jessica Chambers
USA TODAY NETWORK Therese Apel, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
JACKSON, Miss. — A man suspected in another homicide has been indicted in the December 2014 burning death of Mississippi teen Jessica Chambers. Quinton Tellis (above), 27, originally of Courtland, was indicted on capital murder charges by a special grand jury in Panola County as he sat in the Ouachita Parish Jail in Monroe, La., where he is being held on charges connected to the August 2015 death of a University of Louisiana Monroe exchange student. Tellis is believed to have been the last person to have been with Chambers the night she was killed. The two allegedly had a relationship in the weeks leading up to her death, officials said. While Chambers and Tellis were eight years apart in age, they both went to South Panola High School and grew up in the same neighborhood.
A news conference concerning the case is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Panola County Sheriff’s Department in Batesville, according to District Attorney John Champion and Sheriff Dennis Darby.
More than 14 months ago, authorities discovered the blonde ex-cheerleader from Courtland, who had been set on fire. She was found on the road with burns over most of her body. She died a few hours later at a hospital in Memphis. Officials said thermal injury killed her. Since then, her story has drawn the attention of the national media and captivated millions.
Dec. 6, 2014, started off like a normal Saturday for Chambers. After hanging out with friends, she went to the store, came home and took a nap on the couch. After receiving a phone call, she left her house for what would be the last time. Just after 8 p.m., Chambers was doused with gasoline and set on fire in her car next to the gate of some private land. She got out of the car and was found in the road with burns over most of her body. She was able to whisper a name to firefighters, but after interviewing more than 150 people, authorities still haven’t been able to pin it to a specific person. Her car was burned beyond recognition, with any useful evidence destroyed.
Tellis was living in Monroe with his new wife when he was arrested by Monroe Police Department and charged with crimes connected to the stabbing death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, 34, of Taiwan. Local media reports say she had been missing for more than a week when her body was found Aug. 8. She had been stabbed to death in her apartment. Tellis has not been charged with her slaying, but according to jail records, he has been charged with three counts of unauthorized use of an access card and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
The police report says Tellis allegedly used a Chase Bank debit card belonging to Hsiao on Aug. 7 at around 11 p.m. On that transaction, he charged $.07. On Aug. 18, it was allegedly used at 10:35 p.m. for $500 and again at 3:04 a.m. for another $500. Police said there were ATM surveillance photos of Tellis using the card, and he allegedly admitted to using the debit card on all three occasions. A search warrant was served on his house and authorities found a quarter-pound of marijuana in a bedroom. The report says the drugs were packaged for sale. According to Tellis’ Facebook page, he married his fiancee on or around Aug. 8, the day Hsiao’s body was found. Tellis served time for residential burglary and fleeing law enforcement charges in Panola County.
I'm glad that they finally caught this thug, but I still think that there were others in on what he did, or either they knew about it.
There are about 3 or 4 articles about this same case. It would be easier for everyone if instead of creating a new post, if all the posts were added to the first post with the word *update* or something in the title to let people know that it has been updated.
I remember seeing her in a video on the night that she was killed and she was dressed in baggy clothes like she was trying to look like a gang-banger. When white people get into that life-style, they're putting their lives in danger.
I agree with Kitty. There needs to be a method where all posts about one case are in one post.
MONROE, La. – The man charged with murdering Jessica Chambers in Panola County, Mississippi, is now charged with murder in Louisiana. Quinton Tellis (pictured in original article) is now charged with the first-degree murder of an international student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, according to KNOE-TV.
Chambers was murdered in December of 2014; her burned body was found alongside a road.
In August 2014, ULM student Ming-Chen Hsiao was found stabbed to death in her apartment.
Tellis was extradited to Mississippi in May after pleading guilty to using credit cards belonging to Hsiao. He was sentenced to five years for unauthorized use of a credit card, however, because Tellis was declared an habitual offender, his sentence doubled to 10 years.
Tellis’ first court date in Mississippi will be July 15.
So why was Jessica Chambers dating a drug dealing thug like that who was 8 years older than her? I know that once a white girl dates blacks that the white boys won't have anything to do with her, but she was supposedly going off to college and she could have left all of that behind her, yet, she was still hanging out with thugs and drug dealers.
There hasn't been an update on this horrible murder in over a year. Has that ugly SOB that killed her, and another woman, gone to trial yet? Like others, I still can't understand why she was wasting herself on those thugs. There was something going on in her family that we don't know about because what she was doing wasn't normal.
Post by Graveyardbride on Sept 6, 2017 1:56:58 GMT -5
October Trial Set in Jessica Chambers Burning Case
Quinton Tellis, the man accused in the 2014 burning death of 19-year-old woman Jessica Chambers is scheduled to stand trial for her murder October 9, 2017. The trial was originally set for June 19, but the date was moved because the daughter of one of the defense attorneys is undergoing medical treatment. Tellis is accused of setting Jessica Chambers on fire in Courtland. She died after being found on a roadside with burns all over her body. Authorities say Tellis had been in a relationship with Chambers. He has pled not guilty. Murder in Louisiana. Tellis is also accused in the 2015 stabbing death of 34-year-old Meing-Chen Hsiao (above), a University of Louisiana at Monroe graduate student. Hsiao, of Taiwan, was stabbed more than 30 times in her Monroe apartment before she gave Tellis her debit card PIN, a law enforcement officer said in court records. According to Detective Dwayne Cookson, “After gaining possession of the debit card, he brutally murdered her by repeatedly stabbing her and letting her body rot and decompose until being discovered.” The homicide allegedly took place on Wednesday, July 29, but her body wasn’t discovered until more than a week later, on Saturday, August 8. As authorities worked the death scene, Tellis was celebrating his wedding to Chiqita Jackson.
While Tellis and Hsiao weren’t immediately connected, police were aware the two knew each other because they were seen together on a Wal-Mart security video, and a neighbor of Hsiao’s provided the license plate number of a man who gave her a “creepy feeling.” She told police the man, whom she later identified as Tellis, had been to Hsiao’s apartment July 27 and 28 and she heard them arguing. Hsiao had friends and neighbors nearby, but her family was in Taiwan.
The warrant also indicated someone had attempted to clean up the crime scene, which meant there was no DNA to tie Tellis to the murder. However, the data trail and witness statements were enough to arrest him. Other evidence included a receipt for $0.07 from a local gas station, paid with Hsiao’s debit card, found in Tellis’ bedroom. Additionally, search warrants for phone and bank records revealed calls to Hsiao’s bank from Tellis’ phone on the day she died and GPS records showed Tellis “more than likely was inside the apartment.” Withdrawals from a Vicksburg ATM coincided with phone records and statements that Tellis and Jackson were there that day. Also, a pair of tennis shoes was found in an outside storage shed and they had been spray-painted white, according to the affidavit and underneath the paint were dark stains police identified as blood.
Chiqita Jackson told police Tellis didn’t work, but stayed home and watched her son. When he wasn’t doing that, she said, he was with Eric Hill, her cousin. When questioned, Hill initially told police that another man named Curtis Lemons had allegedly told him he stabbed Hsiao until she gave up the PIN to her debit card. Hill then picked Lemons out of a photo lineup, but refused to initial the photo he picked. After looking at another photo lineup that included Tellis, he claimed he didn’t recognize anyone. Court documents indicate Hill told police Hsiao was stabbed and sliced in various ways meant to inflict pain until she gave up the PIN and not all the wounds were meant to kill her – details only the killer would know.
After Lemons was cleared by police and they confronted Hill with the fact they knew he was Jackson’s cousin and associated with Tellis, Hill admitted he knew the details of the murder because Tellis told him and he had wanted to frame Lemons. Hill revealed to police he and Tellis were telling “war stories” about their criminal histories, trying to “one-up” each other, when Tellis told him about going “to a lady’s house” where he “robbed her of her credit cards, beat her up pretty bad and stabbed her.”
Sources: The Associated press, February 15, 2017, and Terese Apel, The Clarion-Ledger, July 7, 2016.
I didn't know what exactly happened in the second murder, now I know that animal tortured the woman to death. I guess I shouldn't have called him an animal because that's an insult to animals. Is the prosecutor asking for the death penalty? If anyone deserves to be put to death, he does. Like others though, I still can't understand why Jessica Chambers would be involved with that ugly ape. She wasn't fat and trashy like most white girls who get involved with black thugs.
Murder trial begins in gruesome burning death of cheerleader
By Fox News, October 9, 2017 | Updated
Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a man accused of dousing a 19-year-old former high school cheerleader with a flammable liquid, setting her ablaze and leaving her to die along a north Mississippi back road. Quinton Tellis, 29, has been charged with the murder of Jessica Chambers on Dec. 6, 2014, and faces life in prison without parole if convicted. Tellis has pleaded not guilty.
Opening arguments and testimony are expected to begin Tuesday morning, with prosecutors expecting to call more than 40 witnesses in a trial that could last up to two weeks, the Commercial-Appeal reported.
Firefighters in Courtland, Miss., found Chambers beside her burning car on a remote road near a tree farm. Chambers was quickly taken to a Memphis hospital, about 60 miles to the north, with burns over 98 percent of her body. She died hours later.
District Attorney John Champion of Panola County said he believed it was a “personal crime” as Tellis and Chambers knew each other, and not related to drug or gang activity, even though 17 suspected gang members were arrested as a result of the investigation. The prosecutor has not revealed to reporters what Chambers told firefighters when they found her. Investigators were stymied early on because they received no information from “street sources,” leading them to theorize that the killing was committed by one person who told no one what happened, Champion had said.
Surveillance video showed Chambers at a gas station less than two hours before she was found. Wearing a sweater and pajama pants that looked like sweatpants, she put $14 worth of gas in her car, more than the $5 or so she usually purchased, Ali Fadhel, a clerk at the gas station, told the Associated Press in the days after Chambers’ death. “I asked her, ‘Why are you putting so much gas?’ She said, ‘I’m going somewhere,’” Fadhel said. On her way out, Chambers got a call on her cellphone, he added.
Authorities have said about 20,000 telephone numbers were analyzed as part of the investigation, more than 150 people were questioned and investigators traveled to Iowa and Chattanooga, Tenn.
Relatives have described Chambers as friendly and outgoing. She had been a cheerleader and softball player at South Panola High School. Chambers’ mother, Lisa, has said her daughter liked to smile and playfully stick out her tongue at people. She was trusting of others, making her mother wonder if her outgoing personality had gotten her into trouble. “She didn’t think anybody could harm her or would want to.” But as the trial approached, Mrs. Chambers declined to discuss the case. She has told reporters she spoke with her daughter by phone about an hour before she was found.
When Tellis was indicted, Champion said, investigators worked to figure out where the victim was between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. the day she was burned and they had “absolutely filled that hour in.” The 19-year-old was found shortly after 8 p.m. that night.
Tellis has prior convictions for burglary and fleeing police. He was released from prison in October 2014 — two months before Chambers’ killing. He faces another murder indictment in Louisiana, where he’s accused in the torture death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, a 34-year-old Taiwanese graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. That indictment alleges that Tellis probably stabbed Hsiao more than 30 times in her face and body with a knife to get her to reveal her debit card’s PIN number before killing her on July 29, 2015. He was extradited to Mississippi from Louisiana in June after pleading guilty to fraudulent use of Hsiao’s card.
Area resident Beth Brasher, 40, said she knows Tellis and says he “comes from a good family.” Asked about the Chambers case, she said she believes Tellis is wrongly accused, but acknowledged the crime “tore up” the community. “That girl died a horrible, horrendous death that she didn’t deserve,” she added.
Panola County, where this happened, is in northern Mississippi, but they picked the jury from Pike County, which is way down in south Mississippi, and transported them to Panola and they will be put up in a hotel for the trial. I know some people in Panola County and they say that everybody wants to see that black SOB convicted, but they don't have a lot of sympathy for Jessica Chambers for dating him and hanging around with gangsters and criminals. People in Courtland say she started out smoking pot in high school and then went on to other drugs like crack and prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Xanax. She had just gotten out of Leah's, a rehab for women in Southaven, MS, and had already gone back to smoking pot and crack and hanging out with thugs. She was a lost cause. Still, being burned alive is a horrible way to die.
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2018 18:52:34 GMT -5 by madeline
Post by Graveyardbride on Oct 12, 2017 14:34:31 GMT -5
Jurors Hear Horrific Details of Mississippi Girl’s Death
BATESVILLE, Miss. – Three years after a 19-year-old woman was burned alive on a road in rural Mississippi about 60 miles south of Memphis, a man with whom she reportedly had a relationship is facing the death penalty in connection with her killing.
In the first day of the trial of Quinton Tellis, now 29, first responder Cole Haley said he was so shaken by his encounter with the badly-burned Jessica Chambers that he was traumatized for months. “She had her arms out, saying, ‘Help me, help me, help me. Her hair was fried, like it had been stuck in a light socket.” He asked her name and she responded, “Jessica Tambers.” With her mouth “just charred black,” Haley soon realized she was trying to say Jessica Chambers. A coroner later said Chambers had burns over 98% of her body. Haley told the seven-man, five-woman jury that he knew Chambers before that night, but the two were not friends. Courtland has about 500 residents.
The trial is taking place in the Panola County seat of Batesville, less than 10 miles from the scene of the crime. Because of worries that Tellis – a black man eight years older than the white, teenager – would not receive a fair trial amid all the publicity in the unsettling case, the jury was selected more than 200 miles south in Pike County, Miss., and transported to Batesville.
In a written statement to investigators hours following the crime, Haley said Chambers told him someone named “Eric” had set her on fire. On the witness stand, he backtracked, saying he was in a daze when he made his initial report. “I was face-to-face with her and you could barely understand her,” he clarified. “She kept asking for water. ... I did not personally hear her say ‘Eric.’”
Darla Palmer, one of the defense lawyers, is using Haley’s initial statement as part of her client’s defense. In Palmer’s opening statement Tuesday, she said at least eight first responders in the trial expected to last two weeks will testify that Chambers said someone named Eric had set her on fire.
Several first-responder witnesses called to the stand Wednesday said she appeared to say “Eric,” but she was difficult to understand because of her charred mouth and the loud rescue equipment in the background.
Tellis, who graduated from the same high school as Chambers, was in Batesville buying a pre-paid debit card for his girlfriend in Louisiana at the time Chambers was attacked, Palmer said.
Prosecutors believe Tellis intentionally went to the store following the attack on Chambers to create an alibi for himself.
On Thursday morning, jurors will visit the site of the fire, M&M Grocery, where security camera footage last recorded Chambers that evening, and Tellis’ home nearby, said Major Barry Thompson, lead investigator for the Panola County Sheriff’s Department. The field trip will give the Pike County jurors a chance to see firsthand the sites that Prosecutor John Champion said will be tied together via cellphone records.
Tellis was indicted in February 2016 in connection with Chambers’ death as he sat in Ouachita Parish Jail in Monroe, Louisiana. What the jury doesn’t know – at least not yet – is that by July 2016, Tellis was charged with first-degree murder in another case, the July 29, 2015, death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, 34, of Taiwan. The University of Louisiana-Monroe exchange student stabbed 34 times until she divulged the personal identification number for her debit card, according to a warrant filed in July 2016. Previously, Tellis had been in the parish jail accused of using Hsiao’s debit card three times after her death. In Louisiana, Tellis also had been charged with one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a charge he to which he pled guilty in May 2016. Tellis won’t return to Monroe to face trial in the Hsiao case until the conclusion of the Chambers trial.
In Mississippi, Chambers’ best friend, Kesha Myers, told jurors Tuesday that Chambers was “selling drugs every day.”
Lisa Daugherty, Jessica’s mother, testified that she last spoke to her daughter at 6:48 p.m. (CT), about 90 minutes before the truck driver made his call about the car fire. Mrs. Daugherty said her daughter left the house about 5:15 p.m., saying she was going to clean out her car and get something to eat.
Jessica Chambers died at Regional One Health-Memphis, where she had been airlifted about four hours after being lit afire.
The Mississippi case largely hinges on on cellphone data that place Tellis and Jessica Chambers together much of the day she died. Tellis previously told investigators he had been with the girl for part of the night she died, authorities reported.
According to District Attorney John Champion, Tellis and Chambers had sex in the passenger seat of her car, after which Tellis smothered her and set her car on fire. The DA described a ghastly scene as firefighters responding to a report of a torched car saw Chambers walking toward them, clad only in underwear and critically burned over 93 percent of her body. He said Chambers suffered horribly and died an agonizing death. “Horrific burns, horrific pain,” Champion emphasized. “I would venture to guess if all of us sitting here were to know we’re going to die, that the very last way we would want to die would be by fire. But Jessica was set on fire.”
Before Chambers died about four hours later at the Memphis hospital where she was airlifted, she attempted to name her killer, Champion said Tuesday during opening statements. Multiple firefighters who tried to help the teen said Chambers told them someone named “Eric” or “Derek” burned her. But the prosecutor now acknowledges this is not the name of the man he’s prosecuting, but told jurors he believed evidence in the case would convince them Tellis is the killer. Tellis, he said, admitted being with the teenager on the day of her death, but changed his story repeatedly. He initially told investigators he saw Chambers on the morning of her death, but later acknowledged they were together in the evening, claiming he met her to sell her marijuana.
Tellis repeatedly texted Chambers, whom he had met about two weeks earlier, asking for sex, and she repeatedly turned him down, Champion related. Cell evidence placed the two in the same location on the day of her death, the prosecutor continued, and Tellis told investigators he had sex with her that day in her car.
Champion indicated he believed Tellis suffocated Chambers and “thought he had killed her,” but realized the woman was still alive. Tellis then drove the girl’s car, with her inside, to the back road (above), ran to his sister’s house nearby, jumped into his sisters’ car, stopped to pick up gasoline from a shed at his house and torched both Chambers and her car.
Sources: Sarah Fowler, The Jackson Clairion-Ledger, October 11, 2017, and Crimesider, October 10, 2017.
Post by Graveyardbride on Oct 17, 2017 7:04:55 GMT -5
Mistrial in Mississippi Burning Case
BATESVILLE, Miss. – The jury in the tense murder trial of a Mississippi man charged with setting a 19-year-old friend on fire and leaving her to die handed a bailiff a note indicating a verdict had been reached. But what followed was confusion.
Before the decision was read, Judge Gerald Chatham asked if the 12-person panel had unanimously agreed on a verdict. A male juror spoke the shocking words: “We didn’t all agree.” This started a chain of events that led to a hung jury and mistrial in the murder trial of Quinton Tellis (above) and sparked a wave of emotions from his family and the relatives of Jessica Chambers. For the Chambers family, it ended up being pain and frustration. For relatives of Tellis, it was relief and joy.
Prosecutors said Tellis had sex with Chambers and set both her and her car on fire on a rural back road in Courtland, Miss., on the night of Dec. 6, 2014. Chambers was found walking on the road looking like a “zombie,” according to trial testimony. She had third-degree burns on most of her body when she died at a hospital in Memphis about 60 miles north of Courtland.
The horrific circumstances surrounding Chambers’ death garnered national attention. A jury was chosen from another county 225 miles away and brought to Panola County for the trial.
Following the verdict disagreement, the judge asked the panel to continue deliberating. Shortly afterward, a court clerk read what was believed to be the final verdict: Not guilty. The Defendant’s relatives smiled. Chambers family members cried.
Then, the judge polled the jury. Seven for guilty, five for not guilty. Spectators looked at each other in dismay. How could the verdict be not guilty, if seven people said guilty?
The jury had been instructed by the judge that, under the capital murder charge, all 12 of them must agree on a guilty verdict. But the instruction did not say that the entire panel of seven blacks and five whites also must unanimously agree on a not guily verdict.
With corrected instructions in hand, it didn’t take long for the jury to tell the judge it was hopelessly deadlocked. A mistrial was declared.
Defense lawyer Alton Peterson, who has 19 years experience, called the events “very unusual,” adding, “I’ve never seen that happen before.”
Lisa Daugherty, Jessica’s mother, questioned how the jury could have deadlocked in such a manner. She said the victim’s father, Ben, was very emotional. “He's not good,” she advised.
District Attorney John Champion said he will retry Tellis.
After the verdict was read, Tellis smiled slightly while speaking with his other attorney, Darla Palmer. “I characterize it as a victory,” Palmer acknowledged.
The Defendant’s mother, Becky Tellis, hugged friends and family who cheered outside the courthouse. Some relatives wore T-shirts reading: “It’s a family thang” and “#JusticeForQuinton.”
Prosecutors didn’t present a clear motivation for the murder. They used cellphone location data and video surveillance footage from a store across the street from Tellis’ home in an attempt to prove he was with Chambers the night she was burned.
Firefighters testified Chambers tried to give the name of her killer and said, “Eric” or “Derek” set her on fire. Palmer claimed Tellis was falsely accused because Chambers said someone else’s name.
Champion said Chambers’ throat and mouth were severely damaged. “Maybe she was trying to say ‘Tellis,’” he told the jury in closing arguments.
Investigators said about 10 to 15 people named Eric or Derek were questioned and cleared. A doctor testified Chambers had so much damage to her mouth, throat and chest that she would have been unable to properly say and pronounce words.
Witnesses broke down during testimony and spectators wept as jurors were shown graphic photos of the young woman’s burns.
Early in the investigation, Tellis told investigators he had seen Chambers during the morning only on the day she died. In a January 2016 interrogation, he acknowledged he was with her that night.
Investigators showed the jury a video recording of a vehicle appearing to be that of Tellis’ sister, stopping at Tellis’ house at 7:50 p.m. and staying for around two minutes before heading toward the crime scene.
Tellis told investigators he kept a container of gasoline in a shed at his house. Prosecutors believe he was driving his sister’s vehicle when he picked up the gas from his shed before setting Chambers on fire. A smoldering Chambers was found on the back road by a passing motorist shortly after 8 p.m.
Tellis faces another murder indictment in Louisiana, where he’s accused in the torture death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, a 34-year-old Taiwanese graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. No trial date has been set in the Louisiana case.
Source: Adrian Sainz, Associated Press, October 16, 2017.
I thought it was common knowledge that in a criminal case, the jury has to be unanimous. Maybe the prosecutors in Louisiana will have better luck convicting that ugly POS. Of course, Jessica Chambers is partly responsible for what happened to her for associating with black thugs.