A District Attorney said Tuesday Quinton Tellis will be retried in Mississippi for the death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers, who was set on fire, before going to Louisiana to face additional charges.
Tellis is facing life in prison for Chambers’ death, but a hung jury in Batesville, Mississippi put his fate into the hands of a whole new trial and set of jurors on Monday. Not only will he face a new round of Mississippi jurors, but he could also be facing a trial in Louisiana.
The same year Chambers was killed, another young woman, University of Louisiana student Ming-Chen Hsiao, was stabbed in her apartment. Tellis is being charged with her murder, but his defense attorneys said they won’t know what’s next for Tellis at the time the Chambers trial concluded Monday.
“The best thing I know is that he is not indicted in that area and we don’t know anything about him being transported back or anything like that,” defense attorney Darla Palmer said.
Though state attorneys have since announced Tellis will be retried, Palmer said it may be a while, expressing both Tellis and his attorneys won’t be ready to go through the process again for some time.
“It won’t be next week, I can tell you that,” Palmer said. “I would imagine it being the next court term. Our judge has been amenable to our schedules and the DA’s office as well, so I’m sure it will be according to our schedules. It will be announced far in advance.”
District Attorney John Champion said Monday after a judge declared a mistrial he would absolutely retry Tellis, emphasizing the strength of his case and the jury divide -- with seven voting guilty and five voting not guilty -- as a positive sign.
“A lot of times I would rather try a circumstantial evidence case, because you’re relying on facts that cannot be contradicted. None of our facts were contradicted,” Champion said. “There are a lot of issues in this case that we had to address, I felt like we put on a very compelling phone data case, video evidence case, his statements and the times he lied. I thought that would overcome the Eric/Derrick thing and why it didn’t, I don't know. Obviously seven people believed us.”