Jurors fail thrice to reach verdict

Deputies lead Quinton Tellis from the courtroom during his initial arraignment on murder charges in the death of Jessica Chambers.

File Photo

A hung jury has resulted in the murder trial of 29 year-old Quinton V. Tellis in the murder of Jessica Chambers of Courtland.

Circuit Judge Gerald Chatham thanked jurors for their service after being handed a report by the jury foreman that jurors could not reach agreement on the murder charge against Tellis.

Chambers was burned alive and left for dead not far from a rural road in rural Panola County on Dec. 6, 2014.

Cell phone records revealed that Tellis had contact with Chambers shortly before she died.

She was able to tell emergency personnel that someone named "Eric" had burned her.

Prosecutors said her mouth was so badly burned that more than likely she was trying to form the words to say "Tellis" and it came out Eric.

However, at least three emergency personnel heard the name of her killer from the victim's mouth and that fact alone was more than likely enough to cast doubt on the prosecution's case.

"It was a very difficult case," Chatham said in dismissing the jurors. "You have been conscientious in your duty. I hold your service in high regard."

The sequestered jury who had been bused in from Pike County in South Mississippi could not render a unanimous verdict.

The victim's father, Ben Chambers, hung his head and shook it from side to side shortly after the jury's report was announced.

Jurors in the murder trial of Tellis failed a total of three times to reach a unanimous verdict for the killing of  Chambers. 

Chatham read instructions to the jury from the bench that all 12 jurors must reach a unanimous verdict, and if they cannot, they must report back to the judge.

Now that a hung jury has been declared, the case could be retried. Tellis still faces a murder charge on an unrelated case in Louisiana.

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