The man charged with dismembering a stripper is planned to undergo trial on Monday. Terry Speaks, the man in question, lured a stripper from a New Orleans bar and, together with his girlfriend, killed her and dismembered her body.
Jaren Lockhart’s body was later dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. Her remains were found after being washed ashore on various Mississippi beaches.
Both Margaret Sanchez (Speaks’ girlfriend) and Terry Speaks pled not guilty to the second degree murder charges brought against them. The victim, 24-year-old Jaren Lockhart, worked in one of the French Quarter clubs on Bourbon Street. She lived in a motel together with her boyfriend.
If convicted, Speaks will face life in prison for his acts.
But even before the trial commencement, Speaks has already requested new legal counsel. The judge presiding over Speaks’ case will have to consider the defendant’s request to fire John Benz, the public defender assigned to his case. Moreover, he will also have to decide whether two of the prosecution’s witnesses’ pasts can be revealed to jurors.
The prosecution would like to call in two jailhouse informants to testify against the defendant. But whether their criminal histories should be revealed to the jurors is a different matter. And in both situations, the judge’s decision may cause a delay in trial proceedings.
During a preliminary examination in May, a Kenner Police detective testified, claiming that one of Speaks’ cellmates had overheard a conversation about the events leading to Lockhart’s death. This cellmate claimed that Speaks and his girlfriend had lured the stripper at a club on Bourbon Street and drugged her. Speaks’ girlfriend allegedly got into a fight with the stripper. The fight ended with the stripper’s death.
Terry Speaks also filed a last-minute request on Friday, claiming that the similarity between Jaren Lochkart’s murder and two additional murder cases may be enough to suggest that he was not the killer.
The bodies of two young women were recently found on Interstate 10 and Speaks insists that the similarities between Speaks’ case and the two murder cases cannot just be coincidences. According to Speaks, a delay in trial proceedings would grant him and his legal team the opportunity of ascertaining:
“If they may have any bearing on/or benefit his defense.”
Apart from the second degree murder charges, Speaks and Sanchez are also facing other charges including obstruction of justice and conspiracy to do so.
Sanchez’s trial has yet to be set, however, prosecutors have already connected her to the murder. Witnesses report seeing Sanchez together with Speaks in a car passing through a Kenner Intersection towards Mississippi.
Image Source: WGNO