Jury deliberations commenced Sunday afternoon in the demo of Quinton Tellis, who is accused in the burning demise of a Mississippi teenager.
Tellis, 29, did not consider the stand in his personal defense. If convicted, he could be sentenced to everyday living in prison. He is billed with money murder simply because the teen’s demise transpired throughout the fee of one more criminal offense, third-diploma arson, but prosecutors are not looking for the demise penalty.
Firefighters responded to a report of a automobile fire in December 2014 and found Jessica Chambers, 19, on a rural road not considerably from her dwelling in Courtland, a city of about 500 folks in northwest Mississippi.
Her automobile was burning and she had been set on fire with gasoline, in accordance to investigators with the US Section of Alcoholic beverages, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives. She had experienced third-diploma burns over 95% of her system.
Eight 1st responders — firefighters, deputies and EMTs — testified they were at the scene when Chambers stated, “Eric set me on fire.” She did not give a last name. Chambers died the following day in a Memphis clinic.
The defense keyed on the simple fact that Chambers did not name Tellis.
“She stated Eric,” Alton Peterson, just one of Tellis’ lawyers, stated in closing arguments. “E.R.I.C. Eric.”
But District Attorney John Champion argued the fire wounded Chambers so badly she could not pronounce her text plainly and may well have been attempting to say “Tellis,” the Clarion-Ledger newspaper described.
The regional law enforcement, the FBI, and an intelligence professional labored the scenario for months and seemed at all the folks named Eric and Derek in the location, authorities stated.
The prosecution stated it utilised cellphone technological innovation, texting information, surveillance cameras and interviews to determine Tellis as the suspect.
He’d developed up in Courtland and was arrested in February 2016 while he was an inmate in a Louisiana prison. He was serving a sentence for working with the debit card of a lady who had been killed, authorities stated. Authorities have stated Tellis is the primary suspect in that slaying.
A friend stated Tellis and Chambers had identified every single other about two months. At the time of her demise, he deleted all communications with Chambers from his cell phone and stopped checking on her, prosecutors stated.
The demo begun Monday, October 9. The jury of 6 whites and 6 blacks was brought in from one more county to listen to the scenario in Panola County, wherever the slaying transpired.
CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin, Steve Almasy and Melonyce McAfee contributed to this report.