A trial this week could shed some light on the mystery behind the gruesome death of a 19-year-old MS woman who was set on fire and left to die beside her burning vehicle.
Firefighter Daniel Cole testified on Wednesday at the capital murder trial for Quinton Tellis, the man accused of killin 19-year-old Jessica Chambers.
If convicted, Tellis faces life in prison without parole. The jury is being transported north to Batesville, where it will be sequestered throughout the trial.
During opening statements on Tuesday, District Attorney John Champion conceded the name of the man he's prosecuting is not the name of she stated. She passed on four hours after the fact at a Memphis doctor's facility. With that in mind, he said that jurors would see photos of her esophagus, thus proving this point. Chambers was burned alive on a back road in Panola County in December 2014.
He claimed to have been buying a pre-paid debit card at the time Chambers was killed, but prosecutors believe he intentionally went to the store after setting the woman and her auto on fire to create an alibi for himself, The Clarion-Ledger reported.
The man who found Jessica Chambers' auto keys not far from the scene also testified. Champion said he believes Tellis suffocated Chambers and thought he had killed her.
Those who spoke to her at the scene of the crime in Courtland testified she said "Eric set me on fire", and prosecutors worked to combat these reports, asking the first responders about Chambers' health status, what the area around and inside her mouth looked like, how well she was able to speak, and about the volume of her voice and the volume of the two diesel fire trucks surrounding them.
"Horrific burns", Mr Champion said.
Chambers was found walking on the road - wearing only underwear in 40 degree temperatures - when a passing motorist spotted her shortly after 8 p.m., Champion said. He said he was driving with Latroy Rudd when they came across Chambers' burning auto.
Authorities have said previously that Chambers was on fire when she was found.
Cole and additionally a few specialists on call told members of the jury Wednesday that Chambers reacted "Eric" when asked who had set her ablaze. He said he asked Chambers' her name, then asked, "What happened?" and she responded saying, "Eric set me on fire".
Defence attorney Darla Palmer said Tellis is wrongly accused.
"I laid her down on the ground and she reached out for my hand", Haley said.
Courtland Fire Chief Cole Hailey was one of the first responders when Jessica was found.
"She said 'Eric set me on fire,"' Palmer said.