In September Oxygen will air “Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers,” and dive straight in to the downright brutal and unthinkable case that gripped the nation in 2014 in a small Mississippi town.
At only 19 year-old Jessica was found walking down the street, on fire, and ultimately ending up burning alive.
Police would eventually make an arrest – but did they have the right guy?
The media coverage that ensued was so intense and dominated the news cycle for days on end and is still talked about to this day.
As many remember, teenager Jessica Chambers was horrifically murdered in the small town of Courtland, Mississippi when she was doused with gasoline and then burned alive. When first responders asked her who did this to her she was barely able to speak, but did manage to attempt to reveal the name of her attacker, which a firefighter could only make out as either “Eric” or “Derrick.”
The final words of the 19 year-old cheerleader not only left law enforcement challenged, but would send the media into a downright frenzy. Unfortunately, it would eventually divide the residents of the small town of Courtland, Mississippi as to who was actually responsible for the murder.
Another factor: did Jessica have secrets?
The Oxygen documentary will air a five-part series looking not only into the aspects of the case, but also profile who Jessica was and the dramatic trial that followed one man’s arrest.
Let’s take a look at the teaser:
More from Oxygen:
“This case has many layers of mystery, but at the heart of it all, it’s about finding justice.” said Rod Aissa, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and Development, Oxygen Media. “BuzzFeed Studios, Joe Berlinger and Wilshire Studios, have done a beautiful job telling Jessica’s complex story in real time, and in the end, we hope to find peace for her family and her community.”
The investigation of Chambers’ murder reveals this small-town cheerleader was a good girl with many secrets. However, the search for justice takes a turn when the authorities charge Tellis, who fiercely maintains his innocence, causing racial tensions to escalate in this rural community that’s suddenly thrust into the national spotlight.
The series documents the shocking jury decision of Tellis’ trial earlier this year, and what lies ahead for the Tellis and Chambers families in the upcoming re-trial. In addition, “Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers,” unfolds one of the most talked-about cases on the internet with unprecedented access to Chamber’s family members, including her parents, Lisa Daugherty and Ben Chambers; Tellis’ mother, Rebecca Tellis, and sister, Laqunta Tellis; the first responders who may have heard Chambers utter her killer’s name; BuzzFeed News’ Baker, who reported Jessica Chambers’ story and the frenzy behind an army of online armchair detectives trying to help find her killer; local journalist Therese Apel; and legal analyst Beth Karas, who has covered the case and trial extensively. But one question remains unanswered: Is the right man on trial—or is a murderer on the loose?
For those who appreciated the West Memphis Three documentaries this is one to pin to your calendars. Producer and director Joe Berlinger not only brought us Paradise Lost, but also gave us other groundbreaking documentaries such as Brother’s Keeper as well as Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio.
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