A judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a Mississippi teenager who was burned to death. The jury failed to reach a verdict.
Quinton Tellis, 29, was charged with capital murder because 19-year-old Jessica Chambers’ death in December 2014 occurred during the commission of another crime, third-degree arson. She died a day after firefighters found her in a burning car on a rural road near her home in Courtland, a northwest Mississippi town of 500 people.
Tellis faced up to life in prison if convicted after prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. Tellis, who was charged in 2016 while he was in prison on an unrelated charge, did not take the stand in his own defense
A jury of six African-Americans and six white jurors began deliberating on Sunday in a Batesville, Mississippi courtroom.
There appeared to be confusion among jurors before the judge declared the mistrial. Earlier, jurors had read a not-guilty verdict in court, but many jurors said they actually voted guilty when the judge polled them. They were sent back to the jury room.
More than an hour later, the jury said they couldn’t agree on a verdict.