Suspect Jessica Chambers trial deleted texts, witness says



New details to come on day two of Quinton Tellis new process

Woman called to the stand speaks of a mystery hitchhiker she picked up on the day of the burning death of Jessica Chambers, Quinton Tellis is on trial again after the first attempt ended in a mistrial.

A Mississippi man faced with a new investigation in the murder trial of Jessica Chambers deleted text messages to the 19-year-old, shortly after her killing, an FBI agent testified Thursday.

Quinton Tellis, 29, is facing capital murder charges in connection with the Chambers’ death. Tellis-flooded Rooms with gasoline then lit her on fire in Dec. 6, 2014, in the city of Courtland, prosecutors said. Courtland is a rural town in the north-West of the Mississippi.

Tellis’ first trial ended in 2017 with a hung jury. Thursday was the third of the new research.

Dustin Blount, the FBI agent, told jurors in Panola County Circuit Court that Tellis previously admitted to driving around with Rooms and a friend, while the two women smoked marijuana.

Defendant Quinton Tellis, center, looks around in a judicial excursion to the crime scene in Courtland, Miss.


Blount said Tellis denied seeing Chambers again, and that his only contact was when Chambers had asked for money. Tellis allegedly told the agent that he deleted his text messages with Rooms after to hear about her death.

Reports said rescuers find Rooms that are out of the woods near her burning car. Chambers reportedly had severe burns covering 93 percent of her body and was dressed only in her underwear. She died a few hours later at a Memphis hospital.

Deputy district attorney Jay Hale holds a photo of Jessica Rooms on the first day of the new trial of Quinton Tellis in Batesville, Miss.


On Tuesday, Tellis’ lawyers claimed that several workers had heard the victim say “Derek” or “Eric” before she died. But prosecutors doubt on those claims, with the argument that the victim is her not able to articulate words. A medic who treated Rooms in a hospital, told jurors, “(Rooms) would have made sounds but not the sounds that we could say, is the voice.”

Jurors on Thursday were brought to the place of the 2014 murder and a half dozen other locations in connection with the case, The Commercial Appeal reported. Circuit Court Judge Gerald Chatham suggested that the prosecutors could recreate the crime scene Thursday night, in part to give judges an idea of the noise and was dark, but the defense lawyers objected to that idea.

On Wednesday, a woman who does not testify in Tellis’ first trial said that she had picked up a hitchhiker the night Chambers was killed. She told jurors that she initially thought Tellis was her cousin, but gave him a ride anyway. When asked why they are not coming forward in the first trial, she said, “I couldn’t remember and I thought it was irrelevant.”

Tellis to another murder charge in 2015 with the fatal stabbing of a Taiwanese graduate student in Monroe, Louisiana. He has already pled guilty to unauthorized use of her debit card. The 29-year-old is currently serving a prison sentence in Mississippi on an unrelated burglary charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

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