Graphic testimony kicks off trial in murder of Jessica Chambers

Jessica Chambers mother Lisa took the stand on day one of the trial

Quinton Tellis, 29, right, is accused of killing the former high school cheerleader from Courtland, Mississippi.

The jury will be sequestered during the entire trial, and will have security everywhere they go. Prosecutors claim he set Jessica Chambers on fire, and is responsible for her death.

A prosecutor says a man charged with burning a MS woman to death lied repeatedly to investigators about spending time with her in the hours before she was found in flames along a rural back road. "She was trying to tell us who she was", said Davis. Tellis has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Tellis' DNA was on Chambers' vehicle keys, found about 1/8 of a mile away, Champion said.

Mr Champion said phone records show that Ms Chambers and Mr Tellis were together twice on the day she was burned. The prosecutor said he believes Mr Tellis suffocated Ms Chambers and thought he had killed her.

Tellis then drove Chambers' auto with her inside it to the back road, ran to his sister's house nearby, jumped in his sisters' vehicle, stopped to pick up gasoline from a shed at his house and torched Chambers' auto and her, Champion said. Tellis' DNA was found on that set of keys, Champion said. "Her hair was singed. soot all around her nose and her mouth. blistering all over her body", Cole, director of emergency operations for Panola County, told jurors. Her vehicle keys were later found nearby, and they had Tellis' DNA on them, Champion said. However, that friend told police he didn't see Tellis that night.

"It's heartbreaking, very heartbreaking", Quinton's sister Laqunta Tellis said. She said Tellis was buying a pre-paid debit card miles away in Batesville at the time Chambers was burned.

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"I submit to you that nothing the state will present to you will change your mind", Palmer said.

Jessica Chambers, 19, left, was intentionally set on fire before her murder on December 6, 2014. "She knew his name is Quentin Tellis".

Chambers was so severely burned she may have had difficulty speaking, Champion said, offering a possible explanation for why first responders heard her say "Eric" or "Derek".

"At one point I even laid down beside her", said Cole, fighting back tears.

Palmer told the jury that Tellis never confessed to the killing.

"He insisted this is not something he would do", Palmer said. Witnesses will include cellphone data experts, Champion said. In a separate case, authorities in Louisiana claim he stabbed to death 34-year-old Meing-Chen Hsiao in 2015.

No trial date has been set in the Louisiana case.

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