Murder suspect Quentin Tellis is facing a jury for a second time in the shocking burning death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers.
Chambers was found burned alive in December 2014 when volunteer firefighters responded to the scene of a burning car in Courtland, Mississipi. Chambers was still clinging to life when first responders found her, thought her petite body was nearly covered in burns. She remained alive for long enough to answer a question about who had done this to her. At Quinton Tellis’s first trial, multiple witnesses testified that Jessica spoke the name “Eric” in an answer to this question.
The initial proceedings against Quinton Tellis, a recent friend of Jessica’s who admitted to seeing her the day of her murder, ended in a mistrial last year when a jury could not come to a decision. Though investigators found through cell phone tower records that Tellis’s phone was near the scene where Jessica was found burned alive, the defense leaned on the testimony of witnesses who heard Jessica say another man’s name.
On Tuesday, the first day of testimony at Tellis’s retrial, prosecutors appeared to be attempting to establish doubt about Jessica’s ability to articulate clearly, given the she was burned inside her mouth and throat in addition to most of the rest of her body.
“There is no way this person produced an articulate sound,” said a speech language pathologist called as a witness, adding that Chambers would have lost her ability to communicate after a few minutes due to the damage from burns on her tongue.
Watch a live stream of the Jessica Chambers murder trial here, from WREG News Channel 3.