CBS/AP October 1, 2018, 5:29 PM Jessica Chambers case: Second mistrial declared for Quinton Tellis in teen's burning death
BATESVILLE, Miss. — A Mississippi judge declared a second mistrial on Monday in the capital murder case of a man accused of setting a woman on fire in 2014. Deadlocked jurors said they couldn't reach a verdict. Panola County Circuit Judge Gerald Chatham declared the mistrial Monday in the trial of Quinton Tellis, after jurors deliberated for two days.
It's the second mistrial; a jury also was unable to reach a verdict in Tellis' first trial last year. Tellis was accused of setting Jessica Chambers ablaze.
Chambers, 19, was found badly burned next to her torched car along a road in Courtland, Mississippi, about 70 miles south of Memphis, on Dec. 6, 2014. She died hours later at a hospital.
As in the first trial, jurors had to choose between evidence that prosecutors said linked Tellis to Chambers' death and testimony by emergency workers that they heard a dying Chambers say someone named Eric attacked her. Prosecutors tried to deflect that testimony with a speech pathologist who said Chambers was burned too badly to speak clearly.
First responders who testified described a ghastly scene and said Chambers was burned to the point she was unrecognizable, reports CBS affiliate WREG. EMT Bradley Dixon testified it was difficult to tell what Chambers was saying as responders repeatedly asked who did this to her.
"It was Erik or Derek or something to that effect," said another first responder, Josh Perkins.
Tellis is facing another murder indictment in Louisiana in the 2015 death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, a 34-year-old Taiwanese graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. That indictment alleges that Tellis probably stabbed Hsiao more than 30 times in her face and body to get her to reveal her debit card's PIN number before killing her on July 29, 2015.