Mistrial declared in case of man accused of burning teen to death

BATESVILLE, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi jury Monday failed to reach a unanimous verdict in the trial of a man accused of burning a woman to death.

CLICK TO VIEW 15 LARGER IMAGES OF CHAMBERS AND PHOTOS RELATED TO THE CASE

A judge then declared a mistrial in the case involving the death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers.

Jurors had deliberated between nine and 10 hours in the trial of 29-year-old Quinton Tellis. The deliberations started Sunday and ended Monday, when the jury indicated that it was not able to agree on a verdict.

Tellis could have faced up to life in prison without parole had he been convicted of capital murder in the death of Chambers.

It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors will retry the case.

Chambers was found walking along a road near her burning car the night of Dec. 6, 2014 in Courtland, Mississippi, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of Memphis, Tennessee.

Firefighters and paramedics treated her at the scene and spoke with her. She had third-degree burns over most of her body when she died hours later in a Memphis hospital.

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1:25 p.m.

A Mississippi judge is telling jurors to try to reach a verdict in the trial of a man charged with burning a woman to death.

Jurors deliberated about four hours Sunday and about four hours Monday before Circuit Judge Gerald Chatham spoke to them. He read a statement saying a verdict “must represent the considered judgment of each juror.” He urged them to try to reach an agreement if they can do so without violating their own judgment.

Quinton Tellis is charged with capital murder in the death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers in 2014. Defense attorneys argued the wrong man is on trial.

The 29-year-old Tellis faces life in prison, if convicted.

Emergency responders said Chambers looked like a “zombie” with burned skin and hair when they found her wandering near a road in Courtland, Mississippi, on Dec. 6, 2014.

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9:19 a.m.

Jury deliberations have resumed in the trial of a Mississippi man charged in the burning death of a woman.

Jurors deliberated more than four hours Sunday without reaching a verdict.

Quinton Tellis is charged with capital murder in the death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers. Defense attorneys argued the wrong man is on trial. Tellis is 29.

Firefighters testified Chambers told them someone named “Eric” or “Derek” set her on fire. Some first responders said Chambers looked like a “zombie,” with burned skin and hair, when she walked from a wooded area in Courtland, Mississippi, on Dec. 6, 2014. She died hours later.

District Attorney John Champion said Chambers’ throat was damaged and she could not pronounce the letter T. He said she could have been trying to say “Tellis.”

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