Jurors were unable to come to a verdict in the case of a Mississippi man charged in the burning death of Jessica Chambers.
WREG reported that a Panola County jury deliberated for ten hours before Judge Gerald Chatham declared a mistrial on Monday. At one point, the jury entered the courtroom and the foreman told the judge that they reached a unanimous verdict before a juror interjected with “We all didn’t agree on it!”
Judge Chatham sent the jury back three times before determining they were “hopelessly deadlocked,” according to the local station.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Quinton Tellis, 29, was charged with capital murder in the December 6, 2014, burning death of Chambers, 19. Prosecutors accused Tellis of having sex with Chambers in her car and then attempting to smother her. When she didn’t die, authorities said Tellis doused her and her vehicle with gasoline and lit them on fire.
A first responder who testified in court claimed that the dying teen said that someone named “Eric” did this to her.
“She had her arms out, saying, ‘Help me, help me, help me,’” Cole Haley, former chief of the Courtland Volunteer Fire Department, said through tears.
“Her hair was fried like it had been stuck in a light socket. Her face was black, and her body was severely burned.”
Despite the discrepancy with Chambers’ last words, District Attorney John Champion told jurors that the evidence they’ll present “will change your mind, I can promise you.”
Though Tellis’ friends and family hoped for a “not guilty” verdict, they told WREG that they’ll settle with a mistrial.
“We’re happy, but then again, it’s still a sad moment because we still want them to find Jessica’s murderer as well,” said Tellis’ niece, Laniqua Williams, told the station.
“They need to find Eric.”
Conversely, the victim’s mother said she’s sick over Monday’s mistrial but will continue fighting for her slain daughter.
“I won’t give up on justice for Jessica. Jessica will have her justice,” Lisa Chambers told FOX13. “[It was] total chaos for both families. That was just the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I just don’t know. To me, it was a hard day for both families.”
Tellis was also indicted on murder charges in connection with the death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, 34, a Taiwanese graduate student in Louisiana. It’s unclear when he’ll be tried in Louisana for the unrelated slaying.
Champion said the state plans to prosecute Tellis again for Jessica’s murder.
[Featured Image: Handout/Ouachita Parish Sheriff]