• Mistrial declared in Jessica Chambers murder retrial

    Updated:

    The judge has declared a mistrial in the second trial for Jessica Chambers' murder case, as the jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case. 

    Quinton Tellis was originally charged in Chambers' murder, but the jury did not come to a unanimous verdict for the second time. 

    The prosecution submitted DNA evidence, along with cell phone data placing Chambers and Tellis together the day of the crime and also shortly before the crime.

    The prosecution also brought in expert witnesses, which they believed debunked the theory that Chambers was trying to say ‘Eric’ or ‘Derick’ was the one who did this shortly before she passed away. 

    They also submitted evidence that Tellis had a gas can in his shed and that gasoline was found on Chambers’ bra.

    They also introduced what should have been a star witness: Ms. Flowers, the woman who picked up an unknown man at what appeared to be minutes after Chambers was set on fire.

    “She could not remember who she picked up. You know, I’m not gonna sit there and ask a witness to say something that I know is not going to be what’s in her memory,” Batesville District Attorney John Champion said. “She did pick Quinton Tellis out of a lineup, but she said I’ve seen this person somewhere before. 

    “And when we asked her is this the person you picked up that night, she said I can’t say 100 percent certain.”

    Tellis is set to go back to Louisiana where he is a suspect in another homicide.

     

    Background: 

    Quinton Tellis is charged with capital murder in the commission of another crime, third-degree arson. Due to three previous felony charges, the indictment charged Tellis as a habitual offender. 

    Tellis pleaded guilty to the unauthorized use of her credit card and was sentenced to 10 years in May 2016. He was later charged in her death as well.

    Jurors couldn't reach a verdict last year in the first trial of Quinton Tellis, charged with capital murder in the death of Jessica Chambers in 2014. It ultimately ended in a hung jury.

    PREVIOUS STORY: Mistrial declared in first Jessica Chambers murder case

    RELATED: Woman will not face charges, police found no photo of jury in Jessica Chambers case on her phone



    Jury deliberations: 

    The jury deliberated for 10 hours after closing statements were made by the defense and prosecution Sunday afternoon. 

    The members of the jury were sent home Sunday night by the judge in the retrial for the murder of Jessica Chambers. 

    They returned Monday morning, as the judge continued to press them to reach a verdict. 

    After several hours on Monday, the jury returned for a final time. They told the judge they could not reach a unanimous verdict, and the judge declared a mistrial.

    Closing arguments: 

    Prosecutors pointed out apparent contradictions in alibis involving who Tellis was with during the day of Chambers' murder. 

    The defense called four people to the stand, including Tellis' sister Shaneeka Williams. 

    They argued prosecutors don't have enough proof to rightfully and wholeheartedly convict Tellis in the death of Chambers. 

    It's unclear when a verdict will come in. 

     

    Day-by-day courtroom coverage:

    Day 6, Part 1

     



     

    During the fifth day of testimony, the State of Mississippi rested their case. 

    A PowerPoint presentation of more than 100 pages took center stage today. The 5th day of Quinton Tellis' murder retrial came to an end at 5:30 Saturday afternoon.

    James Paul Rowett, an intelligence analyst, said his process for the investigation is similar to making a thousand piece puzzle. 

    Sometimes you must put pieces off to the side and then bring them back into play. And that is exactly what he said he did with Quintin Tellis. 

    “He would either give us a different time frame or say it didn’t happen until we presented him with data that conflicted what he was saying and then he would change his story.” 

    During his testimony, he presented cell phone data and surveillance video. It showed almost every move Chambers and Tellis made.

    --

    DNA results took center stage during Day 4 of the retrial for the murder of Jessica Chambers. 

    Tellis is accused of setting Chambers on fire and killing her. 

    Katherine Rogers, of Scales Biological Laboratory, gave an interesting perspective regarding the DNA evidence in the case. 

    Rogers said the goal of testing items like her keys, keychain, rope and tags was to try and obtain any DNA that might have been present. She said in order to do that she swabbed the items individually.

    Rogers testified that she had DNA samples from several people, including Quinton Tellis, and the first type of DNA test she performed excluded Tellis.

    But Rogers said after performing a male only chromosome only test, Tellis’ DNA may have been discovered.

    “That Y STR Analysis, which again just targets Y chromosome DNA – which typically males only have a Y chromosome – still give a mixture of at least or males,” Rogers said. “However, Quinton Tellis could not be excluded as a potential contributor.”

    ATF agent Scott Meadow also took the stand Friday. Meadow was one of two officers who interviewed Tellis in 2015 about the day of the murder. 

    Tellis said in 2015 that on that day he wasn’t in Batesville. However, cell phone data provided placed Tellis and Chambers together in a Taco Bell parking lot just hours before the murder. 

    Day four part one:


    The jury took a field trip to the crime scene, where Jessica Chambers was originally found by first responders in 2014. 

    Jurors were given a tour Thursday morning of not only the crime scene, but also other nearby locations relevant to the prosecution’s case against Quinton Tellis.

    The first stop was where Chambers’ burning car was discovered on Dec. 6, 2014. 

    Jurors saw burn marks on trees next to where Jessica’s car was parked. 

    Next, jurors were taken a short distance away from where they saw the location a family found Jessica’s keys two days after the murder. 

    Here it was also revealed that Ms. Flowers lives directly across the street.

    Flowers testified Wednesday that on the night of the murder, he picked up an unknown man – giving him a ride to what he said was his aunt’s home: Julia Chambers.

    Jurors then were taken a short distance down Route 51 to the M&M convenience store where surveillance video captured Jessica on video shortly before her death. 

    The jurors finally saw Quinton Tellis’ home, which is immediately south of the store where Jessica was seen.

    FOX13 will continue to cover the Jessica Chambers murder retrial throughout the week. Watch full coverage of day two below.



    Day 2 of the Quinton Tellis retrial started similar to Day 1. More first responders took the stand recounting what they saw. 

    More importantly, they broke down what they heard when they arrived on the scene and made contact with Jessica Chambers.

    “You could hear her say… it sounded like Eric,” said Pope Firefighter David Gammell.

    “… when I say Eric or Derick – like I said she was not able to enunciate aw we are,” said another Paramedic Josh Perkins.

    And that’s because according to emergency crews, Jessica had burns over 98 percent of her body – including her mouth.

    The prosecution also introduced into evidence pictures of the crime scene. Pictures included a lighter and a cellphone – both found next to Jessica’s burnt out car. A car that brought questions to investigators.

    When investigator Edward Dixon from Panola County Sheriff’s Department asked why the passenger’s seat of the got his attention, he said “…because of the position of the seat. As far back as it was sitting – it basically tells you somebody was sitting there.”

    However, Wednesday’s biggest bombshell was Panola County Sheriff’s deputy Darrell House testifying that Jessica told him more than just a name when he asked who did this.

    “Best I could understand is black male,” said deputy House.

    FOX13 will continue to cover the Jessica Chambers murder retrial throughout the week. Watch full coverage of day two below.

    Day two, part four:

    Day two, part three:

    Day two, part two:

    Day two, part one:


    Day 1 of the retrial for the murder of Jessica Chambers trial concluded Tuesday. 

    Emotions were running high throughout the first day of the new trial, as Quinton Tellis is accused of setting Chambers on fire and killing her in 2014. 

    Opening arguments were made, along with the first set of witnesses taking the stand. 

    One witness that produced emotional moments in Day 1 was the victim’s mother, Lisa Chambers. 

    She took the stand after opening statements and was asked about the hours leading up to her daughter’s death.

    Chambers said in court that when she first saw her daughter she was told Jessica had “approximately 93 to 98 percent burns” with no chance of survival. 

    First responders who took the stand said Chambers was “severely burned” and her “hair was fried.”

    One witness, a first responder, claimed he heard the victim say the name “Eric” or “Derek” when he found her. 

    However, a speech pathologist went on record to say it would have been impossible for Chambers to say either name when she was asked who hurt her.

    “From what I viewed, in my expert opinion, the severity of what I saw would have prohibited this person from producing any kind of articulate sound,” said Dr. Carloyn Higdon.

    LaKeshia Myer, a close friend of Jessica Chambers, spent the day with her. Myer described driving around with Tellis in the back seat of her car.

    “We didn’t have those conversations with the three of us, it would be me and Jessica talking,” Myer said. “He’ll just sit in the back being quiet most of the time… they were friends and she knew him for a while.”

     

     

    Related: Jury selected ahead of second Jessica Chambers trial

    Jurors were selected Monday in a county more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from where Quinton Tellis is accused of killing Jessica Chambers in 2014.

    Day One, part three 

    Day One, part two

    Day one, part one:

     

     

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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