Judge rules probable cause to hold suspect in Jaren Lockhart murder case

Margaret Sanchez, 30 (Source: Kenner Police Department)
Margaret Sanchez, 30 (Source: Kenner Police Department)

GRETNA, LA (WVUE) - At a Tuesday morning hearing, a judge in Jefferson Parish determined probable cause for Margaret Sanchez, 30, to be held on a charge of 2nd degree murder and obstruction of justice in the death of Jaren Lockhart, who was 22 years old at the time of her death.

The attorney for Sanchez said there is no physical or DNA evidence linking her to the murder. He claims the crime could have been committed by Terry Speaks, 41, who was with Sanchez when Lockhart disappeared.

License plate cameras picked up his car going to Mississippi a few hours after Lockhart got off of work.

Speaks was listed at the same address as Sanchez in June 2012. He is still a suspect in the case.

Speaks is in prison for failing to register as a sex offender. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, he's being held in Otisville, New York, and is due for release in October.

Investigators have said surveillance video showed both leaving with Lockhart on June 12, 2012, from the Bourbon Street strip club where she worked. Police have said her boyfriend, who lived with her at a rundown motel in an area known for crime and drug trafficking, reported her missing the next day.

Parts of Lockhart's body began washing up along the Mississippi Gulf Coast a few days later.

Police believe Lockhart was killed in the New Orleans area. The motive is still unclear.

Officers have never said just what killed her. Her torso, with a stab wound in the chest, washed up in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Other body parts and clothing washed ashore in Pass Christian and Long Beach, Mississippi. Tattoos and body piercings helped identify her.

Detectives from Mississippi and Kenner were in the courtroom during Tuesday's hearing.

Sanchez remains in jail on $750,000 bond.

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