On Dec. 7, 2021 it will be seven years since the death of Jessica Chambers. There has yet to be justice for Chambers, and her family.
Jessica Chambers was 19-years-old when she was murdered on Dec. 7, 2014. She was found walking down the side of a road while engulfed in flames. Chambers died the next day at a Memphis, Mississippi hospital.
Authorities said that Chambers was soaked in fuel in her car on the rural road, set on fire and stumbled through a roadside ditch before she was spotted by a passing motorist who then called 911. She had burns over 98 percent of her body.
Two separate juries have failed to reach a verdict on whether or not a suspect in the case was responsible for the murder of Chambers. The suspect, Quinton Tellis, is currently in jail for an unrelated murder charge in Louisiana.
The victim in that murder case, Meing-Chen Hsaio, was a Taiwanese exchange student who was tortured and stabbed over thirty times in her apartment in July 2015 by someone allegedly trying to obtain the PIN number to her credit card, according to an affidavit obtained by People Magazine. The affidavit names Tellis specifically as Hsaio’s accused killer.
Tellis plead not guilty to the murder of Hsaio, just like he and his defense team have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the death of Chambers.
In the case of Chambers murder, Tellis was identified as a suspect after investigators learned that he and Chambers were recent acquaintances near small-town Courtland, Mississippi. Prosecutors alleged that Tellis had pestered Chambers for sex, which she repeatedly refused, according to People Magazine.
Authorities discovered those requests and her repeated rejections in emails that Tellis deleted. They also located phone records that placed Tellis and Chambers together at the approximate time of the attack on Chambers. Tellis’ DNA was found on her car keys.
During the murder trial, first responder Cole Haley said he was so shaken by his encounter with the badly burned Chambers that he was traumatized for months, according to USA Today.
“She had her arms out, saying “Help me, help me, help me,” Haley testified during the trial through tears. “Her hair was fried like it had been stuck in a light socket. Her face was black, and her body was severely burned.”
Haley, and two other first responders had responded to the 911 call about a car fire on Dec. 6, 2014 on Herron Road just outside of Courtland.
In a written statement to investigators just hours after the crime, Haley said Chambers told him that someone named “Eric” had set her on fire. On the witness stand, he backtracked that statement saying he was in a daze when he made his initial report, according to USA Today.
Jurors in the first 2017 trial could not reach a verdict on his guilt or innocence, and the same thing occurred in 2018. Both trials were convened by Judge Gerald Chatham.
Chambers’ mother, Lisa Chambers, has hope that there will be a third trial, she told Fox13 Memphis. “I am just a mother that is dying every day. There has got to be something they can do. They know who killed her…prove it.”
The two mistrials leave the door open for a third attempt if the District Attorney decides to move forward with a third trial.