Several people have written or commented asking why I’m not doing a deep dive into the trial of 28-year-old Quinton Verdell Tellis for the 2014 brutal murder of 19-year-old Jessica Lane Chambers in the small town of Courtland Mississippi.
Here’s my short explainer. Unfortunately, I do not believe there will be Justice for Jessica delivered in this trial because after months of digging into the case as it was unfolding I came to the conclusion the District Attorney John Champion had so thoroughly botched the investigation than any subsequent arrest was unlikely to ever lead to a conviction.
It’s a gut thing, driven by following the deep weeds of the case and then accepting discoveries of new information against the backdrop of known factual evidence. The surrounding events of the horrific crime, the action by law enforcement in the immediate aftermath, and the long-term subsequent investigation just reeks of legal malpractice.
I can cite a few transparently obvious issues below. But suffice to say, I’m afraid any input from my end would only aid a tenuous legal defense, and possibly result in getting a guilty man acquitted. Because, yes, the subsequent investigative practices were just that bad.
Those of you who walked in the deep weeds of the case in December 2014 though all the preceding months might remember the M&M First Stop convenience store and the proprietor of the establishment Ali Alsanai, aka Basem Alsanai, or “Ali” for short.
You might remember Ali telling a local reporter that the CCTV video was not time-synced to adjust for daylight savings time in, what seemed at the time to be, an attempt to cloud one of the more important aspects of Jessica’s travel and timeline on the night she was killed. You’re going to have to READ THIS, to refresh your memory and understand.
Back in 2014 – Without ever contacting law enforcement first, Ali allowed a reporter to film the CCTV footage and then two days later contacted the reporter to falsely advise him of the time-stamp issue. Reminder:
[…] Now again, remember the police didn’t find this CCTV video, a reporter did. The reporter then shared that he contacted the police department to inform them of its existence. The construct of the original reporters footage therein has been widely distributed to various outlets who also share it in their news stories.
According to the same reporter, two days later the owner/operator then tells him the CCTV time stamp is off. Yet, if you align the original time with Mom, Lisa Chambers, saying Jessica left shortly after 6pm it doesn’t seem like the CCTV time is off. So why would the owner/operator now be changing the timeline? (read more)
So why does this seemingly insignificant issue matter three years later during the trial?
Well, according to current media covering the trial, Quinton Tellis is using a visit to M&M convenience store on the night of the murder as part of his alibi defense construct. This article is from two days ago, October 10th:
BATESVILLE — Quinton Tellis was in Batesville purchasing a pre-paid debit card for his girlfriend in Louisiana at the time Jessica Chambers was burned alive on a road in Panola County in 2014, his defense attorney said.
Prosecutors believe Tellis intentionally went to the store after Chambers’ death, creating an alibi for himself. (link)
So in 2017 the prosecution believes Tellis is using his visit to M&M convenience store on the night of the murder as an alibi for his physical proximity in relationship to Jessica Chambers in 2014.
Now we re-evaluate why, in 2014, Ali Alsanai was trying to convince a reporter that the timestamp on the CCTV was wrong, and THEN we factor in this surreptitious picture (screengrab from an earlier interview with Ali Alsanai) that surfaced in 2017:
That “gas station employee” is Ali Alsanai.
See where this is going?… It looks like Ali was well aware of Quentin Tellis intention.
The entire social network in/around this local convenience store is just sketchy. We knew it back in 2014 – SEE HERE – It’s abundantly clear the cast of characters who were frequenting this place were not just typical “customers”. DA John Champion should have been able to see it; but he didn’t, because he didn’t want to.
Again, another weird example for those who were spending hours upon hours pouring over this case back in the winter of ’14/’15, and who well understood the ridiculous violations of chain of custody for evidence that we were discussing, this next part might really burn your ears. Specifically as it relates to the corruption we discussed at length within the police department, and considering that Jessica’s father worked there.
This example surfaces in another current media article from the trial (day #3) citing another seemingly innocuous background statement. This one actually makes me want to throw up a little bit:
[…] Testimony from the final few witnesses Wednesday began the pivot in that direction, focusing on the location of Chambers’ burning car and the discovery of her keys near the site.
Jerry King, who lived near the site where Chambers was found, testified about how he found the keys along the road as he was strolling his young daughter. The keys had a tag on them from the business of Jessica Chambers’ father, Ben Chambers.
Panola County Deputy Tyler Mills, who responded to the call about the keys, testified how he took possession of the keys and logged them as evidence. (read more)
That’s odd. Because Jessica’s keys were still in the ignition when the vehicle, urgently rushed from the scene of the crime, was dropped off at the compound yard. As we discussed back in 2014:
In the video of Jessica pulling into the gas station it is obvious there is no damage to the rear of her 2005 Kia Rio:
Yet, after it was set ablaze, it is also obvious there was rear end damage not caused by fire, which necessitated the use of a Tire Iron to pry open the trunk. AND the key (including a heart shaped key chain) is in the ignition, the gear shift is in the park position, and the emergency brake is pulled up.
So how does this happen?
2017 Trial Day #3: “Jerry King, who lived near the site where Chambers was found, testified about how he found the keys along the road as he was strolling his young daughter. The keys had a tag on them from the business of Jessica Chambers’ father, Ben Chambers.” “Panola County Deputy Tyler Mills, who responded to the call about the keys, testified how he took possession of the keys and logged them as evidence.”
Perhaps now you understand why it’s challenging for me to watch this trial and provide discussion threads on it.
Things just ain’t right in Panola County Mississippi.