The man accused of dismembering a Bourbon Street dancer acts as his own attorney as a jury is selected in his murder trial.
"Anybody that represents themselves has a fool for a client," defense attorney Bobby Hjortsberg said.
Hjortsberg explains that a murder trial is difficult for any attorney, let alone a defendant representing himself. He says, "I've never seen it in a murder case, I mean it's highly, highly unusual."
After convincing the judge he didn't want help from the public defender's office, Terry Speaks, together with prosecutors, questioned potential jurors in Gretna on Monday. He used a cookie jar analogy to ask how they felt about following a trail of evidence and at one point said to potential jurors, "Do you know what speculation is? I just learned that word a few minutes ago."
Speaks faces charges of second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors say in June of 2012, he and then-girlfriend Margaret Sanchez brought 23-year-old Jaren Lockhart from a gentleman's club on Bourbon to their home in Kenner, where they killed her. Lockhart's dismembered remains washed up on a beach in Bay St. Louis.
After the crime, her family expressed their pain to FOX 8. Lockhart's father, Pete Singer, said, "It's like somebody ripped my heart out of my body...I'm numb...just dead on the inside."
Speaks' decision to represent himself at his trial is one Hjortsberg thinks will prolong the proceedings. Prosecutor Doug Freese told potential jurors that every time Speaks says something to them that attorneys aren't allowed to say, he'll object.
"A lot of times it throws you off. In a case like this, that's going to happen to him almost every question that he asks. He's going to make mistakes almost every question he asks throughout the trial, and it's going to be very difficult for him to make any headway whatsoever," Hjorstberg said.
A jury of 12 and two alternates were chosen, made up of eight women and six men. Opening statements are slated to begin Tuesday morning.
Margaret Sanchez, meanwhile, who faces the same charges, is still awaiting trial.