In December 2014, a 19-year-old girl was seen walking along the side of the road, wearing only her underwear in 40-degree weather, covered in horrific burns. Despite being rushed to the hospital, she died just hours later.
According to reports, she was set on fire inside a car, but someone allegedly thought she was dead before starting the flames.
Quinton Tellis, 29, has been accused of killing the Mississippi woman. After pleading not guilty, his trial finally began this week.
— Shay Arthur (@ShayA_WREG3) October 10, 2017
According to the Daily Mail, he is accused of burning Jessica Chambers alive after thinking he suffocated her during sex in her car. Prosecutors believe that Tellis and Chambers met each other two weeks prior to her death. He allegedly asked her for sex — a request Chambers reportedly denied — but they got together twice on the day of her murder.
The two reportedly got together in the morning for a car ride and then again in the afternoon. Prosecutors said they had sex inside her car after grabbing dinner, and it was then that Tellis allegedly suffocated her. Believing Chambers was dead, Tellis allegedly drove the car to a back road near his sister’s house, picked up his sister’s car and some gasoline, and set Chambers on fire inside her car.
Chambers, however, wasn’t dead.
In fact, she didn’t die in that car, either — she was able to get herself out and walk to find help. Prosecutor John Champion told the court:
“Horrific burns. Horrific pain.”
Although she tragically passed away hours later, firefighters said that before she died, they asked if she knew who set her on fire. She responded, “Eric,” but they later stated her throat was so badly damaged she could have been saying “Derek,”
Officials discovered Chambers’s car keys close to the scene and found Tellis’s fingerprints on them, but initially, Tellis maintained he only saw Chambers that morning. He then admitted to seeing her that evening to sell her some marijuana and have sex.Ouachita Parish Sheriff
His defense attorney, Darla Palmer, said Chambers even admitted herself that Tellis didn’t do it:
“She said ‘Eric set me on fire.’ She didn’t say any other name.”
She also insisted on her client’s alibi: that at the time Chambers was burned, Tellis was purchasing a prepaid debit card several miles away — something prosecutors claim to be fabricated.
In addition to this trial, Tellis is also reportedly a suspect in the murder of a University of Louisiana graduate student. However, he has not been charged.
If convicted of Chambers’s murder, Tellis could be sentenced to life behind bars without parole eligibility.