Attorneys for Speaks argue state has no physical evidence stripper was killed in Louisiana



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GRETNA, Louisiana — The attorneys for a man accused in the death of a Bourbon Street stripper argue prosecutors have no physical evidence that the 2012 murder of the dancer took place in Louisiana.

Terry Christopher Speaks, 42, is scheduled for trial in June on charges including second-degree murder in the death of Jaren Lockhart, whose body parts washed ashore on Mississippi beaches in the days after her June 2012 disappearance.

Speaks has pleaded not guilty in that case. Conviction would mean a mandatory life sentence.

The New Orleans Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1LsUCfk) the dismissal motion was argued Thursday before state District Judge Stephen Grefer. Grefer did not rule on the motion.

Defense attorney John Benz argued that extensive searches of Speaks' apartment and his vehicle produced no physical evidence to establish the crime happened in Louisiana.

Lockhart, 24, was last seen leaving a Bourbon Street club June 6, 2012, about 2 a.m. with Speaks and his then-girlfriend, Margaret Sanchez, 30.

Speaks and Sanchez are accused of fatally stabbing Lockhart.

Parts of Lockhart's body began washing up on Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches several days later, and authorities zeroed in on Speaks and Sanchez, who lived in Kenner at the time.

Investigators said their car was seen entering and leaving Mississippi after Lockhart was reported missing and before her remains washed ashore.

Sanchez also is charged with second-degree murder.

They each are charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice by means of the dismemberment.


Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com

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