There was no chance Jessica Chambers could survive her injuries when she was airlifted to a hospital with second and third-degree burns covering 93 percent of her body, a nurse testified Thursday.
Mary Beth Hall, the burn unit nurse who treated Chambers before she died, said the young Mississippi woman was burned so badly her chest could not expand enough to allow air into her lungs.
"The burns on her chest were so deep ... the tissue couldn't stretch and move," Hall told jurors. "Every time you tried to give her air, it just wouldn't go."
"It was not a survivable injury," she said.
Hall spoke Thursday at the capital murder trial of Quinton Tellis, who is accused of intentionally setting 19-year-old Chambers on fire on Dec. 6, 2014, in Courtland, Mississippi.
Chambers, a former high school cheerleader, was wearing nothing but underwear when she was found along a rural Mississippi road next to her burning vehicle. The teenager, who had been doused with a flammable liquid and set ablaze, died hours later at a Memphis hospital.
Tellis has pleaded not guilty to murdering Chambers, and several firefighters testified Wednesday that the woman said someone named Eric set her on fire when they found her, severely burned and barely able to speak.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, claim Tellis, 29, repeatedly lied to investigators about spending time with her in the hours before she was found.
Prosecutor John Champion said that Tellis had repeatedly asked Chambers for sex, and she had told him no.
Champion said cellphone records show that Chambers and Tellis — who had met about two weeks before her death and had become friends — were together twice on the day she was burned.
Chambers and Tellis rode around in her car for a while that morning before Chambers dropped off Tellis at his house and she went home to take a nap, prosecutors said. Chambers then picked up Tellis at about 5:30 p.m. and they went to a fast food restaurant, Champion said.
Citing statements Tellis made to investigators, Champion said Tellis and Chambers had sex in her car later that evening. Champion said he believes Tellis suffocated Chambers and thought he had killed her.
Tellis then drove Chambers' car with her inside it to the back road, ran to his sister's house nearby, jumped in his sister's car, stopped to pick up gasoline from a shed at his house and torched Chambers' car and her, Champion said.
But several first responders testified Wednesday that Chambers said "Eric" when questioned about who had set the fire.
"I asked who did this to you. She replied, 'Eric,'" firefighter Brandie Davis told jurors at the trial in Batesville, Mississippi, about 50 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. Erin Barnhart, who performed an autopsy of Chambers, also took the stand Thursday, telling jurors the young woman had third-degree burns covering her face, scalp, neck, chest and back.
Barnhart's testimony came after jurors spent the morning visiting the location where Chambers was found burned as well as other locations mentioned during the trial, which began on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.