BATESVILLE, Miss. (localmemphis.com) – Testimony in the Jessica Chambers murder trial began today in Batesville, Mississippi.
WATN reports that the 19-year-old was found burning alive on a country back road in December 2014.
Quinton Tellis is on trial for her murder.
District attorney John Champion revealed in opening statements that he believes Quinton Tellis suffocated Jessica Chambers before setting her car on fire to cover up evidence.
The prosecution called Chamber’s mom, Lisa as their first witness.
“Can you describe the person pictured in this photograph? that’s my baby Jessica Chambers,” said Lisa.
19-year-old Jessica Chambers was doused with gasoline and set on fire on a back road in Courtland, Mississippi just outside of Batesville December 6th, 2014.
Forner Courtland, Mississippi Fire Chief Cole Haley was one of the first who found Chambers.
Haley said, “She was pleading “help me, help me, help me. Her hair was fried out, black all over her face. All the way down her body was badly burned. I laid her down on the ground and she reached out for my hand. I held her hand.”
The defense claims the wrong man is on trial for murder. Defense attorney Darla Palmer said Quinton Tellis didn’t do it.
“Miss Chambers did not say Quintone set her on fire. She just did not say that. We cannot ignore that,” said Palmer.
District Attorney John Champion said Chambers was so severely burned she could barely speak.
Champion is convinced they have the right man.
“When we start showing you the number of lies that he told and how he had to when he’s confronted with the physical evidence and the cell phone data there was no way out for him. None whatsoever” said Champion.
Although this is a capital murder case prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.
Experts say it’s a strategic move meant to increase chances of a conviction.
The state is expected to call at least 35 witnesses to testify.
Court resumes at 9am Wednesday morning.