The man accused of murdering Bourbon Street dancer Jaren Lockhart in 2012 and dismembering her body has asked a state district court judge to throw out the confession he allegedly made to another inmate while in a New York prison.
Terry Speaks is charged with second-degree murder along with his girlfriend, Margaret Sanchez.
He claims the cellmate to whom he allegedly confessed while in federal prison in Otisville, New York, earlier this year was acting as an agent for the state and therefore should have notified him of his Miranda rights to remain silent or to consult an attorney and that anything he said could be used against him.
John Benz, Speaks’ attorney, filed the motion to suppress the confession Monday.
Speaks also is charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the dismemberment.
Pieces of Lockhart’s body washed up on the Gulf Coast shore in the days after Speaks’ car was seen crossing the Mississippi state line in June 2012.
Lockhart, 22 years old and a mother of one, was last seen June 6 leaving the Bourbon Street strip club Temptations, where she worked, in the company of Speaks and Sanchez.
Both lived in Kenner at the time of the murder.
Sanchez was arrested in May, while Speaks was extradited to Jefferson Parish in October from the New York prison where he was serving a sentence for failing to register as a sex offender.
It was there that he allegedly told his cellmate that he and Sanchez killed “a girl” in Louisiana, carved up her body and dumped the remains off a bridge in coastal Mississippi so they could not be found.
In the motion filed Monday in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, Speaks’ attorney said the other inmate, Christian Del Rosario, was put in the same cell as Speaks and acted as his mentor with the permission of the state in hopes of gaining Speaks’ trust and luring him into revealing incriminating evidence.
Court documents indicate Del Rosario was a suicide watch companion and a peer assistant in a program called Freedom from Drugs and assisted in leading a victim impact class.
The filing asks District Attorney Paul Connick to show cause as to why the confession is admissible. It is not clear when the judge will rule. No trial date has been set.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.