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The Latest: Jurors mull case in trial of burning death

October 16, 2017

BATESVILLE, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a Mississippi man charged in a woman's burning death (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

Jurors are considering whether to convict a Mississippi man in the burning death of a woman

Defense attorneys said in closing arguments Sunday that the wrong man is on trial. Quinton Tellis is charged with capital murder in the death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers.

Firefighters testified Chambers told them someone named "Eric" or "Derek" set her on fire. Some first responders said Chambers looked like a "zombie," with burned skin and hair, when she walked from a wooded area in Courtland, Mississippi, on Dec. 6, 2014. She died hours later.

A defense attorney, Alton Peterson, told jurors: "The killer's name was Eric."

District Attorney John Champion said Chambers' throat was severely damaged and she could not pronounce the letter T. He said she could have been trying to say "Tellis."

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This story has been corrected to show the name of defense attorney who told jurors, "The killer's name was Eric," was Alton Peterson, not Jay Hale.

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1:48 p.m.

A Mississippi man charged in the burning death of a woman will not testify in his own capital murder trial.

Attorneys were making closing arguments Sunday in the trial of 29-year-old Quinton Tellis, who has pleaded not guilty to capital murder in the death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers.

Prosecutors theorize that Tellis had sex with Chambers before setting her and her car on fire and leaving her to die along a back road in Courtland, Mississippi, on Dec. 6, 2014.

Tellis has told investigators he does not know who killed Chambers.

A severely burned Chambers was found walking near her burning car. A doctor testified she had third-degree burns on most her body when she died at a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Courtland.

AP

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