A Mississippi man told investigators that he received extensive burns when he fell while performing a stunt near a bonfire, not during the brutal homicide of a 19-year-old woman.
According to the New York Post, recordings of that interrogation were released in Panola County Circuit Court this week as jurors consider whether 29-year-old Quinton Tellis is guilty of murdering Jessica Chambers.
He claimed he was attempting to jump over a grill during an outdoor gathering when things went awry.
“I ran back to about the barbecue grill and I took off and jumped,” Tellis said at the time. “I made it but at the end, like, I just fell back in the fire and they pulled me up.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Tellis is facing a retrial this week on charges related to Chambers’ murder nearly four years ago.
The victim was found burned to death along a road in Courtland. Investigators believe her body was covered in gasoline and ignited on December 6, 2014.
According to his responses during the recorded interviews between 2015 and 2016, his story revealed apparent inconsistencies.
At first, he said he did not see Chambers — with whom some reports suggest he had a romantic relationship — for hours before her death.
Subsequent evidence revealed that he had seen her later and he told authorities that he gave her some money for food that afternoon.
Detectives also discovered apparent holes in his alibi when they determined his witness was out of town the whole day, reportedly prompting Tellis to edit his story again.
He remained adamant throughout the interrogation, however, that he did not kill Chambers.
“I ain’t never killed nobody,” he said. “I don’t even got it in my heart.”