Trial begins against man charged with killing cheerleader found burning alive on rural road

The trial begins Tuesday for a man accused of setting a 19-year-old teen on fire in 2014, according to People.

Those in the small town of Courtland, Mississippi, will not soon forget details of the brutal murder of Jessica Chambers, who reportedly stumbled down a rural road, on fire. Paramedics tried to save the teen, but were unsuccessful, police said.

Quinton Tellis, 29, is charged with Chambers’ death. She and Tellis grew up in the same neighborhood, according to reports, and had been in a relationship of some sort for a few weeks prior to her death, CNN reports.

Police believe Tellis doused Chambers with some type of accelerant before setting her on fire. Officers reportedly found the teen engulfed in flames near her black 2005 Kia Rio. Jessica was flown to a Memphis hospital where she later died.

Investigators had few clues at first, but arrested Tellis after reviewing his telephone records, People reports.

As a part of their investigation, police said they reviewed surveillance footage that showed Chambers walking toward a gas station approximately 90 minutes before authorities found her engulfed in flames.

The footage reportedly shows a man with a striped shirt filling up a gas container. He can be seen walking in Chambers’ direction, according to reports.

“We knew he (Tellis) was the last person she was with,” said prosecutor John Champion. “We came to the realization that he was with her at 6 o’clock. Their phones were absolutely together in Batesville,” he said.

“We found out he was in Louisiana in jail down there and one thing led to another and he kept lying to us and every time we’d bust his lies, he’d change his story and he basically put himself with Jessica until 7:26,” Champion continued.

“We know she was on the scene until 7:31. So the chances of her being with somebody else for four minutes just doesn’t make sense,” he added.

The district attorney would not speculate on a motive, but believes Tellis acted alone.

Jury selection will begin Monday and a trial could begin as soon as Tuesday. The jury is expected to be sequestered for the duration.

Tellis pleaded not guilty to the charges.

[Feature Photo: Handout/Ouachita Parish Sheriff]