Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Opening Statements in Jessica Chambers Murder Trial Day 1

Opening Statements in Jessica Chambers Murder Trial Day 1

In the trial of the man accused in Chambers' death, Quinton Tellis, 29, sat impassively as testimony was given before a sequestered jury in the Panola County Courtroom in Batesville.

First responders to the scene where MS teenager Jessica Chambers was found with burns on 93 percent of her body said in court Wednesday morning she was "mentally in shock", "in a trance", and that she "looked like a zombie" when she told them a man named Eric set her on fire. She died the next day.

He said Chambers and Tellis had only known each other for a short time before she was burned to death on a backroad in the rural community of Courtland. The accused in the case, Quinton Tellis faces charges of murder and has pleaded not guilty.

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. She had been doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire near a tree farm and died 4 hours later at a Memphis hospital.

The trial of the 19-year-old former high school cheerleader, Jessica Chambers, who was burned to death three years ago, continued through Tuesday and Wednesday in Batesville, Mississippi, with firefighters testifying she told them someone named "Eric" or "Derek" set her on fire, reports said.

Tellis initially told police he had not been with Chambers at all on the day of her death, but reportedly changed his story multiple times during questioning. She had burns over 98 percent of her body. She was on fire when she was found next to her burning vehicle along a back road in Courtland, Mississippi, on December 6, 2014.

"The inside of her mouth was just charred black", Haley said. "She knew Quinton. Quinton Tellis is his name". "But she did not say that that day".

"When we start showing you the number of lies that he told and how he had to when he's confronted with the physical evidence and the cell phone data, there was no way out for him", Champion said of Tellis, according to station WATN.

There were two Courtland firefighters nearby and the sound of two diesel engines running, but Cole said he distinctly heard Chambers utter the name "Eric" when he asked Jessica Chambers, "Who did this?" She was wearing nothing but underwear when she was found, and she had trouble saying more than a few words at a time, firefighters said.

"I think he suffocated her", Champion said.

Daniel Cole, the Director of Emergency Operations in the county, wrote a report saying he arrived on the roadside where Chambers' auto was ablaze to find her covered in blankets on the ground with first responders. "I asked, 'Who did this to you?' She replied, 'Eric.' I asked again, 'Baby girl who did this?' and she replied, 'Eric, '" Davis said, reading his statement in court.

"She said "Eric set me on fire",: Palmer said".

Another first responder, firefighter Brandie Davis, also testified that Chambers said "Eric" set her ablaze.

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