The second trial in the Jessica Chambers murder case is set to begin today.
It is a case that rocked a small Mississippi town and astounded the nation. With the story of her murder being featured on multiple television networks, and most recently a docu-series on the Oxygen network entitled, Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers. However, the case is far from over after the first trial ended in a mistrial.
Around 300 jurors have been called from Oktibbeha County. The selection of the jury will take place on Monday and after the jury members are selected they will be sequestered for the duration of the trial which will determine whether Quinton Tellis is responsible for the murder of 19-year-old Jessica.
The original trial ended in a hung jury resulting in a mistrial after jury deliberations carried on for nearly 10 hours and members of the jury were unable to come to a unanimous decision. The Chambers case began back in December 2014 in Panola County when the 19-year-old was doused in gasoline and set on fire. When first responders arrived at the scene of a burning car, they found Chambers with severe burns on her body. She was rushed to a Memphis hospital and treated for severe burns, but she died just a day later.
During the first trial, the jury heard details about Chambers’ death, specifically, what her last words were. Firefighters on the scene stated that she said the name “Eric”, but Dr. William Hickerson of Memphis said that Chambers would not have been able to speak clearly due to the severity of the burns.
The most controversial moment of the first trial occurred when a “not guilty” verdict was read, but after it was determined that the verdict was not unanimous, jurors were sent back for more deliberation. The mistrial was declared because the jury was still unable to reach a verdict.
At the time of his arrest, Tellis was facing unrelated murder charges in Louisiana. Law enforcement in Mississippi linked him to Chambers on the day of her death through cell phone records and video surveillance from the gas station.
He was charged with Capital Murder in her death but was not released from Louisiana at the time due to his pending charges there. Governor Phil Bryant contacted Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards with a Governor’s Warrant to extradite Tellis to Mississippi to stand trial in Chambers’ murder. His request was granted, and Tellis was brought to Mississippi where he was tried on Capital Murder charges during the first trial.
However, this time, Tellis is facing lesser charges.