Judge delays trial of couple charged in stabbing death, dismemberment of French Quarter dancer



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GRETNA, Louisiana — The Kenner couple accused of stabbing Bourbon Street dancer Jaren Lockhart to death and dismembering her body two years ago will not stand trial on Jan. 12 as originally planned.

The New Orleans Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1yP1CMu ) state District Judge Stephen Grefer on Monday scheduled routine motions for that date instead. Margaret Sanchez, 30, and Terry Speaks, 42, are charged with second-degree murder and obstruction of justice in Lockhart's death.

Grefer conferred with attorneys for both sides before rescheduling the trial, saying he will rule on defense motions about the status of potential witnesses by Dec. 12.

The defense is still reviewing evidence gathered by the prosecution, including a confession Speaks allegedly made to another inmate while serving his sentence on an unrelated charge in a New York prison.

Prosecutors have said they plan to try Sanchez and Speaks separately. The two are accused of stabbing Lockhart to death in June 2012, dismembering her body and throwing it off a bridge into the Gulf of Mexico. The obstruction of justice charge stems from the dismemberment.

Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese said he would still like a separate case against Speaks — for not registering as a sex offender in Jefferson Parish — to go to trial on Jan. 12. But the matter was left open after John Benz, Speaks' attorney, said he still has a lot of preparation to do in that case as well.

The charge of failure to register as a sex offender stems from Speaks' 2003 conviction in North Carolina for having sex with a minor.


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

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