‘Skin was hanging off of her lips’
Quinton Tellis, 29, is once again on trial for December 2014 burning death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers in Mississippi
Chambers stumbled out of the woods near her hometown of Courtland, Mississippi, after she and her car were set ablaze on Dec 6, 2014
On Tuesday, EMTs told the court in graphic detail what the 19-year-old victim looked like after being set on fire during the retrial of suspect, Quinton Tellis
Describing Wednesday how Chambers’ body was covered in burns, her throat and tongue charred black, and how she had no eyebrows or eyelashes – One of the attending paramedics testified that the the teen looked to be 40 or 50 years old
This was a retrial for Tellis after the first capital murder trial for Tellis, 29, ended in a hung jury last year
Defense emphasised that Chambers named her assailant, that multiple witnesses recalled hearing Jessica tell EMTs, with great difficulty, that ‘Eric’ of ‘Derek’ did this to her
The defense arguement was countered with speech language pathology expert, Dr Carolyn Higdon, who testified Tuesday that the teen could not have said either name because of the extent of her injuries
Tellis faces another murder indictment in the 2015 stabbing death of a Taiwanese graduate student in Monroe, Louisiana
Tellis also faces another murder indictment in Louisiana, where he is accused in the torture death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, a 34-year-old Taiwanese graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Monro
An extradition agreement between the two jurisdictions means Tellis will not return to Louisiana to face the charges on the Hsiao killing until the conclusion of his case in Mississippi
Tellis, 29, is being retried on capital murder charges, after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict last year.
A firefighter who was on the scene on December 6, 2014, told the court that the 19-year-old’s body was completely covered in burns and ‘almost looked like shoe leather.’
‘Her face itself…she was unrecognizable,’ the first responder said from the stand.
‘There was black charring.’
Jessica was burning alive in this car when she was rescued by fire fighters. She did not survive, having suffered severe burns all over her body
According to the witness, when another firefighter asked Jessica who did this to her, she responded with what sounded like ‘Eric’ or ‘Derek,’ but it was a struggle for her to speak.
An EMT who administered first aid to Jessica told the jury that the first thought that came to his mind when he saw the victim’s condition was that they needed a medical helicopter: ‘Skin was hanging off of her lips [and] out of her nose,’ the paramedic recounted. ‘Her eyelashes and eyebrows were gone. The hair on top of her head was a big singe-ball.’
He added that Jessica attempted to speak but her voice was raspy and it was nearly impossible to make out the words she was trying to utter.
The EMT said he heard Chambers say ‘her-see,’ which he took to mean ‘thirsty,’ and ‘ole,’ which he thought stood for ‘cold.’
He also said he heard the teenager say ‘eh-wih,’ which he took to mean ‘Eric.’
‘She didn’t look like a 19-year-old girl laying there,’ he said, adding that he thought at the time she was between 40 and 50 years old.
The court also heard this morning from two Panola County Sheriff’s deputies, who both testified that when they asked the victim to name her attacker, she said what sounded like ‘Eric.’
Chambers could not say the man’s last name but indicated that it was not her boyfriend.
When asked whether the assailant was black or white, she responded with what sounded like ‘black,’ according to one of the deputies.
The defense has previously emphasized that multiple emergency workers heard the dying Chambers say someone named ‘Eric’ attacked her, calling the prosecution’s evidence ‘speculation’ or ‘unreliable.’