The Kenner couple accused of stabbing Bourbon Street dancer Jaren Lockhart to death and dismembering her body two years ago will not stand trial on Jan. 12, as originally planned.
Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna on Monday scheduled routine motions for that date instead. That came as no surprise; there was little expectation that the trial of Margaret Sanchez and Terry Speaks for second-degree murder and obstruction of justice would get underway that soon.
Grefer conferred with attorneys for both sides before rescheduling, saying he will rule on defense motions about the status of potential witnesses by Dec. 12.
The defense is still reviewing evidence gathered by the prosecution, including a confession Speaks allegedly made to another inmate while serving his sentence on an unrelated charge in a New York prison.
Prosecutors have said they plan to split the case and try Sanchez, 30, and Speaks, 42, separately. The two are accused of stabbing Lockhart to death in June 2012, dismembering her body and throwing it off a bridge and into the Gulf of Mexico. The obstruction of justice charge stems from the dismemberment.
Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese said he would still like a separate case against Speaks — this one for not registering as a sex offender in Jefferson Parish — to go to trial on Jan. 12. But the matter was left open after John Benz, Speaks’ attorney, said a lot of preparation still needs to be done in that case as well.
The charge of failure to register as a sex offender stems from Speaks’ 2003 conviction in North Carolina for having sex with a minor.