JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A Jefferson Parish grand jury Thursday indicted a former Kenner couple in the killing and dismemberment of French Quarter dancer Jaren Lockhart.
Our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune report that Margaret Sanchez, 30, of Metairie, and Terry Speaks, 41, who is in a federal prison in New York, each was charged with second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
They're accused of inviting Lockhart, 22, who worked at Temptations Gentlemen's Club, to a private party on June 6, 2012. Police said Lockhart, the mother of a young child, told co-workers that she was leaving to "make rent."
She died from a single stab wound to the chest. Her heads, legs and arms below the elbows were cut off. The body parts were discarded along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Additionally, the grand jury charged Speaks with failure to register as a sex offender. He had moved to Louisiana from North Carolina, where he had been convicted in 2003 of having sex with a minor. After he emerged as a suspect in Lockhart's death, authorities jailed him in New York.
He's scheduled for release in October. But in June, Kenner police obtained a warrant for his arrest, setting up his transfer to Jefferson Parish.
Sanchez is being held in the parish jail in Gretna in lieu of $1.5 million bond. Speaks' bond was set at $1.75 million. State District Judge June Darensburg set the new, higher bonds Thursday, when prosecutors filed the indictments.
The Hancock County, Mississippi, Sheriff's Office initially investigated Lockhart's death, after parts of her body were found near Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian. The Kenner Police Department took over in April, and detectives soon arrested Sanchez.
During a preliminary examination in Sanchez's case in May, detectives testified that two inmates in the New York federal prison reported Speaks admitted to them that he was involved in the crime.
Authorities think Lockhart was killed in the couple's apartment, near Louis Armstrong International Airport. That evening, Speaks and Sanchez drove in her car to Hancock County, where authorities suspect they tossed remains off the Bay St. Louis bridge.
Investigators suspect Lockhart's body was dismembered so that she could not be easily identified. She had tattoos on her forearms, which were never recovered, police said.
The defendants' cases have been assigned to state Judge Stephen Grefer's court. If convicted of the murder charge alone, Sanchez and Speaks would spend the rest of their lives in prison with no chance of probation, parole or suspended sentence.
The next court date in the case is set for Sept. 5.