Judge refuses mistrial for man accused of killing Jaren Lockhart

Judge refuses mistrial for man accused of killing Jaren Lockhart

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Testimony continued for the second straight day in the Terry Speaks trial. Speaks opted to hand the reigns of his defense back to his attorneys Tuesday night after two days attempting to defend himself.

On Wednesday morning, Speaks' attorneys moved for a mistrial because of his ineffectiveness defending himself, but judge Stephen Grefer ruled that Speaks had done an adequate job, despite his procedural errors. Since attorneys assisted in each step of the trial, he denied the motion for a mistrial.

The first several witnesses on the stand Wednesday morning were employees of Temptations Strip Club where Jaren Lockhart worked the night before she was murdered. Employees from Stilettos, the strip club next door, also testified.

Employees told jurors they saw Speaks and his girlfriend Margaret Sanchez trying to get women to leave with them.

One dancer at Stilettos says the pair tried to convince her to go with them to dance for a bachelor party.

"She told me it was okay to leave with them and they needed someone to go home with," Lacy Dillman, a Stilettos dancer, told jurors "It put a light bulb in my head so to speak. I had no intentions of leaving with them. They kept repeatedly asking me to leave."

After that, another employee at Stilettos told jurors Sanchez continued to look for someone to take home with Speaks nearby.

"She asked me did we have any girls that would go home with her for her boyfriend's birthday. She wanted to give him a threesome for $700," Jamie Sparks told jurors. "I said this isn't a whorehouse. Go next door."

That's where another dancer at Lockhart's club, Nicole Barbay Lowe, encountered Speaks and Sanchez. She told jurors Sanchez tried to get her to dance for Speaks offering her $500, but she declined.

"She asked if I knew if there was anyone who would leave that night. I told her she could ask the girl on stage," said Lowe.

That was a comment she told jurors she regretted, because she recommended Sanchez and Speaks go talk to Lockhart.

Lowe said the dancers weren't making much money that night and Lockhart was in need of cash for drugs and a hotel room.

Darlene Larroque, who told jurors she was the mother hen of the strip club, spoke with Lockhart minutes before she left the club.

"I said are you leaving and she said yes," recalled Larroque. "I said why are you leaving so early. She said 'I only made $75. I need to make some money to pay rent and I'm going to go do this party.' I said I love you."

Larroque was clearly tearful on the stand as she recounted the last time she saw Lockhart alive.

That testimony was an effort by the prosecution to paint a picture that Speaks and Sanchez were determined to leave with a woman that evening.

Now, jurors are hearing testimony from a former friend of Sanchez and Speaks who described the state of their home before the pair was arrested. She said it was unusually clean and smelled like bleach.

Testimony is expected to continue throughout the day.

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