GRETNA, Louisiana — One of two suspects in the 2012 death and dismemberment of a New Orleans strip club dancer pleaded guilty Monday in an unrelated case and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Terry Christopher Speaks, 42, pleaded guilty in Jefferson Parish, where he had been set for trial later this week for failing to register as a sex offender.
Speaks admitted being a three-time felon under Louisiana's habitual offender law, according to Nola.comThe Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/1KMX7we).
Speaks 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.
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. Authorities suspect the couple took Lockhart to their home in Kenner.
Sanchez also is charged in Lockhart's death. Her trial date has not been set.
Speaks pleaded guilty in North Carolina in 2003 to two counts of indecent liberties with a child. For that, he was sentenced to three years' probation. He later broke the rules of probation, and in 2006 a North Carolina state judge sentenced him to 1,210 days in prison, prosecutors say.
In May 2011, Speaks moved from North Carolina to Philadelphia, but still did not register as a sex offender, court records show. Because he crossed state lines, federal prosecutors picked up the case and had a grand jury indict him in February 2012 with failure to register as a sex offender
On June 6, 2012, when authorities say he left the French Quarter with Sanchez and Lockhart, Speaks had a warrant for his arrest pending. Six days later, detectives investigating Lockhart's death received a tip that Speaks and Sanchez were in Loranger, and Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's deputies arrested him.
Speaks was shipped back to North Carolina, where he pleaded guilty Sept. 4, 2012, to failure to register as a sex offender. He served 32 months in prison, during which time a state grand jury in Jefferson Parish handed up an indictment charging him and Sanchez with Lockhart's death. When his prison sentenced ended, he waived extradition and was sent to Jefferson Parish in October.
The grand jury that indicted the two suspects in Lockhart's killing also charged Speaks with failure to register as a sex offender.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com