Jessica Chambers murder trial


Prosecutors guarantee Tellis lied over and again to agents about investing energy with Chambers in the prior hours she was found with consumes on 93 percent of her body.

Defense attorneys argue Ms. Chambers told firefighters on the scene that a man named Eric set her on fire, which is not the name of the man charged and on trial for her murder.

In his opening statement, Prosecutor John Champion acknowledged that the first responders did hear her say the name "Eric" or "Derek" but that she could have been saying "Tellis", but the damage done to her throat made it sound different.

The capital murder trial of 28-year-old Quinton Verdell Tellis continues on Wednesday.

Former Courtland Fire Chief Cole Haley became very emotional on the stand, crying as he described the extent of Chambers' injuries when he found her burned on the side of the road. She said her daughter took a nap mid-day on December, until being awakened by a call or text.

Champion said he believed Tellis suffocated Chambers and "thought he had killed her", but realized the woman was still alive. The trial in Batesville, Miss., around 50 miles south of Memphis, is the concentration of tight security.

"Horrific burns", Mr Champion said.

Chambers was found walking on the road - wearing only underwear in 40 degree temperatures - when a passing motorist spotted her shortly after 8 p.m., Champion said. She was on fire when she was found next to her burning auto along a back road in Courtland, Mississippi, on December 6, 2014. Cell evidence placed the two in the same location on the day of her death, Champion said, and Tellis told investigators he had sex with her that day in her vehicle.

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Authorities have said previously that Chambers was on fire when she was found.

Defence attorney Darla Palmer said Tellis is wrongly accused. Palmer said that Chambers, who was "alert, able to speak", told at least eight first responders a man named Eric was responsible for burning her and her auto.

The prosecution reportedly argued that Tellis - previously described as a "habitual" criminal offender - tried to suffocate Jessica after the two had sex in her vehicle that night. "She didn't say any other name". That indictment alleges that Tellis probably stabbed Hsiao more than 30 times in her face and body with a knife to get her to reveal her debit card's PIN number before killing her on July 29, 2015. With that in mind, he said that jurors would see photos of her esophagus, thus proving this point.

In his opening statement, Champion acknowledged that the first responders did hear her say the name "Eric" or "Derek".

Palmer told jurors that Tellis never confessed to the killing.

"He insisted this is not something he would do", Palmer said.

About 20,000 telephone numbers were analyzed in the investigation. The jury - seven men and five women - was pulled from outside the area due to the massive pre-trial coverage of the case.

Tellis faces another murder indictment in Louisiana, where he's accused in the torture death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, a 34-year-old Taiwanese graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.