A man charged in the 2014 burning death of a woman will make his first Mississippi court appearance July 15 in Hernando.
The Commercial Appeal reports (http://bit.ly/29waaqK) Quinton Tellis is expected to enter a plea in the death of Jessica Chambers.
Tellis, extradited from Louisiana last month after pleading guilty to fraudulent use of a debit card, was expected to be in court in Panola County on Tuesday, but the case was continued because of a scheduling conflict with attorneys.
Instead, District Attorney John Champion said Tellis will make what is likely to be his only court appearance for a while in DeSoto County a week from Friday at 9 a.m. At the hearing, expected to be brief, Tellis will enter a plea to a capital murder charge stemming from the December 2014 death of Chambers near her Panola County home in Courtland.
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After the appearance, Champion said Tellis, housed at the DeSoto County Jail in Hernando, probably won't be seen until activity accelerates in advance of a highly anticipated trial still months away.
"That'll be the only court appearance until motions are filed," Champion said earlier. "Realistically, it will probably be the spring before it goes to trial."
Before then, defense attorneys will pore over a mountain of documents collected by Champion's office and law enforcement during an investigation that lasted more than a year.
Tellis, represented by two Jackson attorneys, was indicted by a Panola County grand jury and charged in February. He was charged as a habitual offender because of two previous burglary convictions and a felony fleeing conviction.
He grew up in Courtland with Chambers and knew her before moving to Louisiana in 2015, authorities said. It was there, in Monroe, where Tellis used the card of a student who was slain.
Tellis was not charged in that slaying, but he admitted to using her debit card and was processed into Louisiana's corrections system before being returned to Mississippi authorities.
Charging him with Chambers' death ended a lengthy investigation into the grisly burning death of the 19-year-old, who died at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis hours after being found near her burned-out vehicle on a road not far from home.
Courtland is about 70 miles south of Memphis. Panola and DeSoto counties are both part of Mississippi's 17th Judicial District, for which Champion is the district attorney.