Jurors were selected on Monday in the trial of of 28-year-old Quinton Verdell Tellis, the man charged with murder for killing 19-year-old woman Jessica Chambers. Now, they’ll be driven over 200 miles from the town of Magnolia, Mississippi to Batesville, where they will be sequestered for the duration of the trial. Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday, and the LawNewz Network will provide live streaming coverage.
A grand jury indicted Tellis for lighting Chambers’ car on fire, leading to her death. Police said they discovered the victim, burns covering 98 percent of her body, on December 6, 2014. Police claim Tellis admitted to being with Chambers on the day she was burned, but he didn’t admit to killing her. Investigators said he knew Chambers before the murder, and were able to link him to the killing by using phone records. Prosecutor John Champion said last week that they do not plan on pursuing the death penalty.
The prosecution is preparing to call more than 40 possible witnesses in the case, according to court records. Among them are representatives from AT&T and Verizon, who may be asked to discuss those phone records. Chambers’ mother, Lisa, is also on the witness list. She has said she spoke to her daughter on the evening of December 6, 2014, and will likely testify about that night.
This isn’t the only murder Tellis has been accused of. In a separate case, authorities in Louisiana claim he stabbed to death 34-year-old Meing-Chen Hsiao in 2015. As in the Chambers case, it is alleged he knew the victim before her death.