Judge declares mistrial after jury unable to reach verdict in Tellis trial

Tellis (left) is charged with Chambers' murder.
Tellis (left) is charged with Chambers' murder.(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Oct. 2, 2018 at 5:58 AM CDT
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PANOLA COUNTY, MS (WMC) - The judge has declared a mistrial in the murder case of Jessica Chambers.

The judge asked the jury to come to a decisive conclusion Monday morning in the retrial of Tellis, who is accused of killing 19-year-old Jessica Chambers in Panola County, Mississippi.

The result was the jury being unable to come to a consensus.

After 12 hours of deliberations, the jury could not reach a verdict in the capital murder trial of Quinton Tellis.

Just after 3 p.m. Momday, the jury told the judge they are deadlocked after 12 hours of deliberations on Sunday and Monday.

“Looks like y’all don’t feel you’re going to be able to reach a decision in this case,” sad Judge Gerald Chatham.

This is the second time Tellis has been on trial for the murder after a hung jury last year.

District Attorney John Champion said nine first responders and law enforcement testifying Jessica Chambers told them Eric set her on fire was too much to overcome.

“I certainly think that’s a huge part of it," Champion said. "If you listen to Dr. Higdon and Dr. Hickerson’s testimony you know, I believe the firefighters heard something and I believe it went viral. “

Those doctors testified Chambers, with burns over 90 percent of her body, was too severely injured to speak.

Tellis showed no reaction when he heard his second trial also ended in a mistrial.

“We put on what I believe to be the very best case we could have put on and they just could not all agree and I understand,” said DA John Champion.

Champion said the Eric factor played a key role in this trial, as well as the first one.

“We felt like bringing the speech pathologist in would make it better,” Champion said.

The speech pathologist testified along with a medical doctor that Chambers was too badly burned, over 99 percent of her body, to say anything.

Nine first responders testified Chambers told them “Eric” set her on fire.

“I believe that one or two people thought she said Eric and it went viral,” Champion said.

Chambers’ family left the courthouse without commenting, and so did Tellis’ family.

However, Tellis supporter Demetra Avant did talk. “It’s crazy, I think it’s crazy,” Avant said. “A lot of evidence was overlooked, and a lot was fabricated.”

Champion does not know if he will retry Tellis for a third time.

Chambers was found burned alive near Courtland in December 2014.

Earlier in this trial Prosecutors called a speech pathologist to the stand, who said Chambers would not have been able to speak to first responders because of the severe burns she had on 98 percent of her body.

This weekend, the jury also listened to cell phone testimony which investigators said showed Tellis was with Chambers when she died.

Champion would not say if he will retry Tellis for a third time, but said the Chambers' family is very disappointed.

“Obviously I’m extremely disappointed,” Champion said. "We put on a good case last time and a much, much better case this time. "

Tellis' mother left the courthouse without commenting.

“It’s crazy; I think it’s highly crazy," Tellis supporter Demetria Avant said. "A lot evidence was overlooked and a lot of evidence fabricated.”

Day 1 recap: Click here

Day 2 recap: Click here

Day 3 recap: Click here

Day 4 recap: Click here

Day 5 recap: Click here

Day 6 recap: Click here

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