MONROE, La. (WLBT) - Quinton Tellis, who was tried twice in the 2014 murder of Panola County teen Jessica Chambers, has been given $300,000 bond in the case of a brutal stabbing death of a Taiwanese woman.
Both trials for Chambers’ burning death resulted in hung juries.
Ming-Chen Hsiao was known to her friends as “Mandy.” She had friends and neighbors nearby, but her family was in Taiwan, and it was 10 days in the August heat before her body was found tortured to death inside her apartment.
Tellis was initially held without bond on a second-degree murder charge in her death, and he did plead guilty in 2016 to unauthorized use of her debit card. So far he has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
Authorities said that Tellis tortured Hsiao to death on her bedroom floor. The incidents were detailed in a 2016 arrest warrant.
“After gaining possession of the debit card, he brutally murdered her by repeatedly stabbing her and letting her body rot and decompose until being discovered,” read part of Detective Duane Cookson’s statement included in Tellis’ Louisiana arrest warrant.
Hsaio died on or around July 29, and her body was found Aug. 8 -- which was Tellis’ wedding day to his girlfriend Chikita Jackson.
“I mean he’s as dangerous a criminal as I’ve ever dealt with, 26 years, I mean he’s as dangerous as there is. So it’s very important that either Louisiana get him convicted or we get him convicted,” Panola County District Attorney John Champion said.
Police say Tellis and Hsiao were seen together on a WalMart security video. A neighbor gave authorities a license plate number of a man who gave her a “creepy feeling.” That man, later identified as Tellis, had been to Hsiao’s apartment July 27 and 28, the neighbor said. She had heard the two arguing.
Authorities said in the 2016 warrant that someone had attempted to clean the crime scene, leaving no suspect DNA there in Hsiao’s apartment, but authorities said the data trail and witness statements were enough to arrest him.
There was also a $.07 charge on Hsaio’s credit card, and the receipt was found in Tellis’ apartment.
Search warrants for phone and bank records showed calls to Hsiao’s bank from Tellis’ phone on the day she died, and GPS records showed Tellis “more than likely was inside (Hsiao’s) apartment.” There were also withdrawals from a Vicksburg ATM with phone records and statements that show Tellis and Jackson were there that day.
Police also found a pair of tennis shoes they believed to belong to Tellis, and they had been spray-painted white. Underneath that spray paint were dark stains that police believed to be blood.
“I thought our case was good, but I feel like their evidence is a lot stronger than ours," Champion said Wednesday.
Tellis didn’t work, according to statements from Jackson at the time, but stayed home and watched her son. When he wasn’t doing that, she said, he was with her cousin, Eric Hill.
Hill gave a statement to police that first implicated a man named Curtis Lemons. He said Lemons had told him that he had stabbed Hsaio until she gave up the PIN number to her debit card. He picked Lemons out of a lineup, but then refused to initial it.
He was then showed another lineup that included Tellis and denied that he knew anyone in that lineup.
According to court documents, Hill told police that he was told Hsiao was stabbed and sliced in various ways meant to inflict pain until she gave up the PIN. Not all the wounds were meant to kill her, he said. Those were details only the killer would know, police said.
Lemons was investigated and cleared. When police told Hill they knew he was Jackson’s cousin and frequently hung out with Tellis, Hill changed his story.
Documents say that Hill admitted he knew the details because Tellis had told him that story. Hill said he had wanted to frame Lemons.
Hill told police he and Tellis were telling “war stories” about their criminal histories, trying to see who had the best story when Tellis told him about robbing a woman of her credit cards, beating her, and stabbing her.
Tellis was sentenced as a habitual offender on charges of using Hsaio’s credit cards, but he has been released on that conviction. Champion said he won’t go free if he bonds out, though, because Mississippi still has a detainer on him.
Tellis faces a status hearing December 12. It’s unclear if he will be given a court date at that time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.