Three years after a 19-year-old woman was burned alive on a road in rural Mississippi about 60 miles south of Memphis, a man that she reportedly had a relationship with is facing the death penalty in connection with her killing.

In the first day of trial for Quinton Tellis, now 29, first responder Cole Haley said he was so shaken by his encounter with the badly burned Jessica Chambers that he was traumatized for months.

"She had her arms out, saying, 'Help me, help me, help me,' " Haley testified Tuesday, wiping away tears. "Her hair was fried like it had been stuck in a light socket. Her face was black, and her body was severely burned."

Haley and two other firefighters had responded to a truck driver's call about a car fire Dec. 6, 2014, on Herron Road just outside Courtland, Miss.

He saw Chambers in the middle of the road, clothed in her underwear and no bra. The former chief of the Courtland Volunteer Fire Department said his first reaction was to get a blanket to wrap around Chambers to help "conceal her."

After wrapping a blanket around her, Haley walked Chambers to the back of his fire truck. When "she couldn't go anymore," he laid her down, and she reached out for his hand.

"She had her arms out, saying, 'Help me, help me, help me. Her hair was fried like it had been stuck in a light socket."

He asked her name and she responded "Jessica Tambers." With her mouth "just charred black," Haley said he realized she was trying to say Jessica Chambers. A coroner later would say that Chambers had burns over 98% of her body.

Haley told the seven-man, five-woman jury that he knew Chambers before that night, but the two were not friends. Courtland has about 500 residents.

The trial is happening in the Panola County seat here less than 10 miles from the scene of the crime. Because of worries that Tellis - a black man eight years older than the white, teenaged Chambers - would not receive a fair trial amid all the publicity in the unsettling case, the jury was selected more than 200 miles south in Pike County, Miss., and transported Monday night to Batesville.

In a written statement to investigators hours after the crime, Haley said Chambers told him that someone named "Eric" had set her on fire. On the witness stand, he backtracked, saying he was in a daze when he made his initial report.

"I was face to face with her, and you could barely understand her," he said. "She kept asking for water. ... I did not personally hear her say 'Eric.' "

A lawyer on Tellis' defense team, Darla Palmer, is using Haley's initial statement as a foundation of her client's defense. In Palmer's opening statement Tuesday, she said at least eight first responders in the trial expected to last two weeks will testify that Chambers said someone named Eric had set her on fire.

Several first-responder witnesses called to the stand Wednesday said she appeared to say "Eric," but she was difficult to understand because of her charred mouth and the loudness of rescue equipment in the background.

Tellis, who graduated from the same high school as Chambers, was in Batesville buying a pre-paid debit card for his girlfriend in Louisiana at the time Chambers was attacked, Palmer said. Prosecutors believe that Tellis intentionally went to the store after Chambers' attack, creating an alibi for himself.

On Thursday morning, jurors will visit the site of the fire, M&M Grocery where security camera footage last recorded Chambers that evening and Tellis' home nearby, said Major Barry Thompson, lead investigator for the Panola County Sheriff's Department. The field trip will give the Pike County jurors a chance to see first hand the sites that Prosecutor John Champion said will be tied together via cellphone records.

Tellis was indicted in February 2016 in connection with Chambers' death as he sat in Ouachita Parish Jail in Monroe, La. What the jury doesn't know, at least not yet: By July 2016, Tellis was charged with first-degree murder in another case, the July 29, 2015, death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, 34, of Taiwan.

The University of Louisiana-Monroe exchange student had been stabbed 34 times until she gave out the personal identification number for her debit card, according to a warrant filed in July 2016. Previously, Tellis had been in the parish jail accused of using Hsiao's debit card three times after her death.

In Louisiana, Tellis also had been charged with one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a charge he pleaded guilty to in May 2016. Tellis won't return to Monroe to face trial in the Hsiao case until the conclusion of the Chambers trial.

In Mississippi, Chambers' best friend, Kesha Myers, told jurors Tuesday that Chambers was "selling drugs every day."

Chambers' mother told the court that she last spoke to her daughter at 6:48 p.m. CT, about 90 minutes before the truck driver made his call about the car fire. Lisa Chambers said her daughter left the house about 5:15 p.m., saying she was going to clean out her car and get something to eat.

Jessica Chambers died at Regional One Health-Memphis where she had been airlifted about four hours after being lit afire.

The prosecution's case in Mississippi will hinge largely on cellphone data that place Tellis and Jessica Chambers together much of the day she died. Tellis previously told investigators that he had been with Jessica Chambers for part of the night she died, authorities said.

Champion said Tellis and Jessica Chambers had sex in the passenger seat of her car, then Tellis smothered her and set her car on fire.