SuperTalk Mississippi

Tellis expected to remain in Mississippi

Quinton Tellis. Courtesy of Panola County Sheriff's Department.

It’s been a little over one week since the jury in the Jessica Chambers murder trial couldn’t come to a unanimous verdict, and a mistrial was declared. The defendant, Quinton Tellis, can still be re-tried in Mississippi on a lesser charge. Tellis is also awaiting trial for murder in Louisiana, questions have arisen as to where Tellis will have to return to Louisiana to face trial there. Panola County DA John Champion said that while he expects Tellis to remain in Mississippi, it doesn’t make much of a difference.

Related: What you need to know about the murder of Jessica Chambers

“Where he sleeps every night is not a great concern to me. When we get a new trial date set, we’ll have him back up for that so whether he sleeps here or in Louisiana every night, it doesn’t make a difference to me,” Champion said.

Tellis was in Mississippi on an executive agreement from Louisiana in order to stand trial for the murder of Chambers. Champion said that it is up to Louisiana to make the decision on if they want him back. Both Governors would have to sign off on an agreement to get Tellis back to Mississippi if he leaves before a new trial is set; Champion mentioned that there would be no difficulty getting that done.

The original trial ended with a hung jury after a bizarre flow of events, where the jury emerged from their quarters several times without a unanimous decision. A not-guilty verdict was read until on juror spoke up and said that they had not all agreed on the verdict.

Related: Mistrial declared after jury remains deadlocked

“The defense lawyers, me and my assistant DA, and the judge had never seen anything like it before. You can’t prevent something like that from happening. You’re dealing with 12 people on a jury, once we get it to them what happens next is up to them. I think this was a unique situation, will it happen again? I hope not,” Champion questioned. “Can I say it won’t? No. Is there anything I can do to prevent it from happening? I don’t see anything we can do, except maybe change the jury instruction, but that’s about it.”

As for a new trial date, Champion said that they would have to wait until all of the court schedules for 2018 are out so they can begin the process of setting a new date.




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