Man charged with Mississippi teen's 2014 burning death

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Man Charged With Capital Murder In Burning Death Of Jessica Chambers

BATESVILLE, Miss., Feb 24 (Reuters) - A man has been indicted for murder in the burning death of a 19-year-old woman, a prosecutor said on Wednesday, more than a year after the crime rattled a small Mississippi town.

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Quinton Verdell Tellis, 27, is charged with killing Jessica Chambers, who was discovered on fire and walking away from her burning car on Dec. 6, 2014, outside the town of Courtland in northern Mississippi. She died of her injuries a short time later.

Authorities in Panola County said Tellis and Chambers knew each other as residents of the same town, but gave no motive for the slaying. They also refused to disclose the dying statement she made to firefighters who came to her aid.

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Jessica Chambers, Burned Woman in MS
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Man charged with Mississippi teen's 2014 burning death
This undated photo provided by the Monroe Police Department shows Quinton Verdell Tellis, who was charged with capital murder in the death of Jessica Chambers and announced Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. The former high school cheerleader was found near death in her rural Mississippi hometown after being doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire more than a year ago. (Monroe Police Department via AP)
Mourners attend funeral for Jessica Chambers. (Facebook/Justice For Jessica)
Mourners attend funeral for Jessica Chambers. (Facebook/Justice For Jessica)
Mourners attend funeral for Jessica Chambers. (Facebook/Justice For Jessica)
Mourners attend funeral for Jessica Chambers. (Facebook/Justice For Jessica)
Mourners attend funeral for Jessica Chambers. (Facebook/Justice For Jessica)
Yellow crime scene tape marks the location where 19-year-old Jessica Chambers was found severely burned, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, in Courtland, Miss. Chambers died Saturday after she was taken to a Memphis hospital with severe burns. Authorities are working to piece together the last hours of her life in efforts to catch who set her on fire. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz).
Yellow crime scene tape marks the location where 19-year-old Jessica Chambers was found severely burned, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 in Courtland, Miss. Chambers died Saturday after she was taken to a Memphis hospital with severe burns. Authorities are working to piece together the last hours of her life in efforts to catch who set her on fire. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)
A gas station and convenience store where, according to surveillance video, Jessica Chambers visited before she was found severely burned along the side of a Mississippi road is pictured on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, in Courtland, Miss. Chambers, 19, died Saturday after she was taken to a Memphis hospital with severe burns. Authorities are working to piece together the last hours of her life in efforts to catch who killed her. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)
A gas station and convenience store where, according to surveillance video, Jessica Chambers visited before she was found severely burned along the side of a Mississippi road is pictured on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, in Courtland, Miss. Chambers, 19, died Saturday after she was taken to a Memphis hospital with severe burns. Authorities are working to piece together the last hours of her life in efforts to catch who killed her. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)
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Tellis was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday. He was already in jail on charges in an unrelated case in Louisiana, where he moved last summer.

In August, he was arrested when he was found in possession of items belonging to Meing-Chen Hsiao, 34, of Taiwan, who had been stabbed to death in Louisiana, authorities said. He has been charged with the unauthorized use of her debit card but not her murder.

Ben Chambers and Lisa Daugherty, Jessica's parents, said they had never heard their daughter mention Tellis. They said they felt confident investigators had the right man in custody but were not completely relieved.

"She's got to have justice," Daugherty said. "That doesn't come until the conviction."

The 14-month probe involved investigators from local, state and federal agencies.

"It's very rewarding to know that someone who is capable of this degree of evil will have to answer for his actions," Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain told a news conference in Batesville where the arrest was announced.

Prosecutors said Tellis did not yet have a lawyer in the Mississippi case.

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