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After Louisiana trial, man could be tried in Jessica Chambers' burning death

Chambers
Chambers

JACKSON -- A man charged in the burning death of a Mississippi woman might be brought back to the state for trial even if he is convicted on unrelated charges in Louisiana.

Quinton Verdell Tellis, 27, is charged with capital murder in the December 2014 burning death of Jessica Chambers, 19, in Courtland.

He faces a May 9 court date in Ouachita Parish on charges of using the debit cards of Meing-Chen Hsaio, 34, who was stabbed to death in Monroe, La., in 2015.

Extradition papers sent from the office of Gov. Phil Bryant to the office of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards ask that Tellis be returned to Mississippi for trial even if he is convicted and sentenced to prison in Louisiana.

John Champion, the district attorney for Panola County, told The Clarion-Ledger newspaper even if Tellis is not convicted in Louisiana, there will be a detainer on him in Mississippi and he will be brought to Panola County to be tried in the Chambers case.

"If you're in Louisiana and you have charges pending on you down there, then you will face your charges there, and if you're convicted and sentenced, it changes over from a governor's warrant to an executive agreement," Champion said. "That means that we're borrowing you from the state of Louisiana for trial and we promise to send you back."

Chambers was found by responders burned alive Dec. 6, 2014, on the road near her burning car. Tellis was indicted by a Panola County grand jury in February. He is charged as a habitual offender because of two burglary convictions and a felony fleeing conviction.

Tellis lived in Panola County until he moved to Louisiana in 2015.

He is being held in the Ouachita Parish jail on charges of using Hsaio's debit cards after she was stabbed to death, and of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute it. He has not been charged in Hsaio's death, but police identified him in November as a suspect.

Tellis was living in Monroe with his new wife when he was arrested in August. Monroe police said Tellis and Hsiao, a University of Louisiana at Monroe graduate, knew each other. If Tellis is convicted in Louisiana as a habitual offender, he faces life in prison without parole.

M. Randall Donald, previously reported as a lawyer for Tellis in Louisiana, did not immediately return a call for comment Saturday.

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