‘Eric’ on top of mind as prosecution, defense analyze Chambers' last words

Quinton Tellis murder retrial continues after hung jury last year

‘Eric’ on top of mind as prosecution, defense analyze Chambers' last words
Quinton Tellis (center) is on trial for Chambers' death. His first trial ended in a hung jury. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

COURTLAND, MS (WMC) - Wednesday marked day two of the second trial of Quinton Tellis, suspected of killing 19-year-old Jessica Chambers in 2014.

Tellis was on trial for the murder last year, but the case ended in a hung jury.

Chambers was burned alive and left to die on a rural road in Courtland, Mississippi, in December 2014.

Tuesday, the defense focused on Chambers' last words. First responders testified that she said someone named Eric set her on fire.

Prosecutors called a speech pathologist who testified Chambers could not have told first responders that because of her burns.

"She didn't have much of her hair left,” said paramedic Josh Perkins. “It was singed, and you didn't think she was 19. I thought she was 40 or 50."

Prosecutors called more emergency personnel and law enforcement to the stand.

“Her name was Jessica Chambers. CD1 asked who did this, she said Eric,” said Pope County firefighter David Gammell.

A parade of prosecution witnesses, more than the first trial, testified she said Eric did it. But in this retrial, testimony Jessica Chambers gave a description of her attacker.

“I said Jessica, was he black or white. She said black,” said Panola County Sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Taylor.

A second deputy said he got the same response. Everyone who testified acknowledged the former high school cheerleader could not speak well, but they know they heard Eric.

Another new bit of information emerged in testimony.

"She stated it wasn’t her boyfriend,” said one witness.

So far, there has been no testimony to indicate Quinton Tellis was Chambers’ boyfriend. Witnesses said that she had started hanging out with him two weeks before she died.

Prosecutors also called a reluctant and new witness to the stand, who testified she picked up a man who needed a ride the night Jessica Chambers died.

It was also the same night firefighters were called to a structure fire.

Sherry Flowers, who did not testify in the first trial, said she saw a black man in his early 20s asking for a ride to his aunt's house the night Chambers died.

Flowers said the man said he was checking on his aunt's house because he heard it was on fire and he wanted to check on her.

Flowers gave him a ride because she knew the aunt. She did not come forward to investigators; instead, they found her.

When asked why she didn’t come forward to law enforcement, Flowers said, “I couldn't remember and I thought it was irrelevant."

She testified she didn’t know the man, who she described as between small and medium and around 19 to 20 years old.

It is not clear why prosecutors called the Sherry Flowers to testify.

Jessica Chambers was 19 when she was killed in 2014.
Jessica Chambers was 19 when she was killed in 2014. (Source: Family)

Last year‘s trial, which ended in a mistrial when jurors were unable to reach a verdict, lasted seven days.

The judge said this new trial could last from five to seven days.

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