There are a few media presentations as well as the video of the District Attorney press conference below. It is interesting to note something slipped out that many researchers previously speculated. Champion was previously misleading the public during media interviews.
Because of the intimacy of the crime, and because it was a lone individual (who never said a word), there wasn’t any “street talk”. The absence of chatter was clearly stated early and often by both DA Champion and Sheriff Darby (mostly Champion).
However, Champion repeatedly said the investigators were chasing numerous tips called in – he actually said “hundreds of calls”. In the presser today Champion admits there were only two calls ever made to the tip line:
[…] “We hoped early on that some people would come forward, but we got nothing. Even after the reward went up to $54,000, we only got two calls.”
Here’s video of the presser:
Here’s some media information on the day’s events. Two good overall summaries.
BATESVILLE, Miss. — Quinton Verdell Tellis, a 27-year-old habitual criminal who sits in a Louisiana jail for crimes there, has been charged with capital murder for the 2014 burning death of 19-year-old Jessica Chambers.
An army of local, state and federal investigators, led by District Attorney John Champion, announced the indictment charging Tellis on Wednesday at the Panola County Sheriff’s Department. Champion said Louisiana will finish with its cases against Tellis before he returns to Mississippi, which “won’t be anytime soon.”
The indictment, returned during a specially empaneled grand jury that met Monday and Tuesday in Batesville, closes a 14-month investigation that involved checking more than 20,000 phone numbers and interviewing more than 150 people. Champion said he’s confident Tellis, who grew up in Courtland and knew Chambers, acted alone. He doesn’t expect additional arrests.
Specifically, the indictment charges Tellis with murdering Chambers while in the commission of another crime, third-degree arson. Because of previous charges against him, the indictment also charges him as a habitual offender.
Champion said the decision would be made “down the road” on whether to seek the death penalty, once Tellis is back in Mississippi and the family is consulted. (read more)
The Clarion Ledger has another summary:
Mississippi – Even though a prosecutor was finally able to tell the public Wednesday that a man accused of killing a Mississippi teenager by setting her afire more than a year ago has been charged with capital murder, he had to couch the news with a message.
The man accused of killing 19-year-old Jessica Chambers won’t be back in Mississippi for months.
“I don’t anticipate him being here anytime soon,” District Attorney John Champion said of 27-year-old Quinton Verdell Tellis of Courtland. Tellis was indicted by a grand jury Tuesday.
Tellis is currently in jail in north Louisiana and will have to be extradited to Mississippi. Tellis, who lived in Panola County until a period in 2015 when he moved to Louisiana, was found in possession of items belonging to a woman who had been stabbed to death in Louisiana.
Champion said because the state doesn’t participate in an interstate extradition program, what’s known as a “Governor’s Warrant” will have to be prepared and executed and that could take four to six weeks.
Tellis is also facing a May trial date that could delay his return to Mississippi, Champion said.
Authorities said because of the lack of street chatter, the indictment of a man in the Jessica Chambers case relied heavily on data collection
“Capital murder is when a death occurs in the commission of certain other felonies, and in this case it was third degree arson,” Champion said. (read more)