Cameras followed Lisa Daugherty as she revisited the place of Chambers’ violent death.
“I used to come here a lot. It just felt like you could feel her here — I know that sounds crazy,” Daugherty says on Oxygen’s new docuseries Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers, premiering Saturday night, which traces the case so far. (An exclusive clip is above.)
“Jessica was last seen at the end of this road,” her mom says in the video.
It was there, in Courtland, Mississippi, on the night of Dec. 6, 2014, that the teen was found burning alive.
Chambers was walking near her vehicle just after 8 p.m., prosecutors have said. She had burns over 98 percent of her body.
According to previous court testimony, first responders found Chambers, a former high school cheerleader, alive but grievously injured.
“When I got there, Jessica came towards me saying, ‘Help me, help me, help me,’ ” Cole Haley, a former volunteer fire chief, recalled on the stand last year. “Her hair was fried like she had stuck her finger in a socket. Her face was black, and she was burned all down her body.”
“There appeared to be a zombie coming out of the woods,” said another volunteer firefighter, Jody Morris. “I know that sounds harsh, but that’s what it looked like. Her hair was completely singed.”
Chambers died in the hospital early the next morning. But the question of who attacked her remains unanswered.
Prosecutors contend it was Quinton Tellis, whom they charged with murder more than a year after Chambers died.
Jurors at his first trial, however, were unconvinced and could not reach a verdict of guilt or innocence.
The prosecution reportedly argued that Tellis — who is suspected of murder in an unrelated case in Louisiana (he has pleaded not guilty) and whom authorities have described as a “habitual” criminal offender — tried to suffocate Chambers after the two had sex in her car that December night.
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Thinking he succeeded, Tellis then doused Chambers’ car with gasoline and set both it and her on fire, the district attorney alleged. The pair had met only weeks before.
Tellis is set to be retried at the end of the month. He vigorously maintains his innocence. In court last year his attorney argued he was at the store at the time Chambers was set on fire.
For her part, Chambers’ mom says she hopes the truth emerges in court.
“I hope in the trial that they can shed some light as to what actually took place here because right now my heart hurts,” she says in the clip above. “It’s just a sick feeling. I need to know, I need to know what was done.”
In the years since Chambers’ death rocked her small community, the case has been pored over online by armchair sleuths proposing their own theories.
“I’ve heard so many different stories,” Daugherty says, adding, “What actually happened, I have no clue.”
But she does know this: “This would have to be done by a heartless, soulless person. Demonic, in my opinion.”
Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers premieres Saturday (7 p.m. ET) on Oxygen.