BATESVILLE, Miss. — Witnesses Thursday told a jury there was no way Jessica Chambers couId’ve survived a brutal attack in which she was doused in flammable liquid and set on fire in 2014.
Jurors were shown gruesome photos of the aftermath of that attack, showing the 19-year-old with severe burns to her body. Quinton Tellis stands accused of her murder.
Dr. William Hickerson with Regional One was called to the stand Thursday.
Many witnesses have testified hearing Chambers say a name like “Eric” when they pulled her from the burning vehicle.
Defense attorney Darla Palmer contends that Chambers’ statements show Tellis is falsely accused in the case.
But Hickerson said it would have been difficult to understand her because of the damage to her airways, tongue and mouth. He testified that Chambers had third-degree burns on most of her body. He said the scorched skin on her chest became tight like leather and she could not speak correctly due to a lack of air.
Lead investigator Barry Thompson said defendant Quinton Tellis was questioned six days after the crime. Tellis told investigators he met Chambers through a friend and the two would smoke marijuana together.
Tellis also admitted he had been intimate with Chambers, one time, he said.
On Thursday, members of the jury were taken to “key locations” in the area:
- Panola County Impound Lot: The jury was allowed to look over Chambers’ car, which Barry Thompson with the Panola County Sheriff’s Office said had rusted a great deal from being outside in the elements.
- Fire Scene: The jury was able to look over the scene. It was pointed out that a tree nearby has little life left because of the damage caused by the fire. It’s now adorned with a cross someone painted on it. Thompson testified Chambers was treated by first responders approximately 40 feet away.
- Herron Road: Only a few hundred feet from the fire scene, this is where Chambers’ keys were found. The defense questioned the integrity of the evidence since it had been moved by the man who made the discovery.
- Property of D. Cole: Jurors were driven to an access road that connects this property to the house where the defendant’s sister lived at the time. Thompson said there was no evidence Tellis was ever on the road.
- Otto Stanford Subdivision: Where Tellis’ sister lived at the time. Thompson stated again there was evidence that Tellis was on the road or at the house the night of the crime.
- M&M Grocery: Thompson testified that there was a camera that was pointing toward Tellis’ driveway, but the defense quickly pointed out there were several areas that were not in view.
- Tellis Home: Across the street from the grocery store. The jury was allowed to walk the property and then taken to an area behind the home where Tellis had previously admitted to have sex with Chambers.
While at these locations, the media was told to put away all electronics. No one was allowed to have a cellphone, cameras or any other electronic device, except for the Associated Press and NBC pool cameramen and the court reporter.