One of two defendants in the Jaren Lockhart murder and dismemberment case was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender in an unrelated case.
Terry Speaks, who will be tried this summer in the high-profile murder case against him and Margaret Sanchez, never registered in Jefferson Parish as a sex offender, as he was required to do after a 2003 conviction for having sex with a minor in North Carolina.
The guilty plea was not surprising, as prosecutors indicated last week that the case might resolve itself before a jury was set to be selected later this week.
Speaks has failed to register as a sex offender before, and he was sentenced as a three-time felony offender by 24th Judicial District Court Judge Stephen Grefer. He will not be eligible for parole, probation or a suspended sentence.
Speaks, 42, and Sanchez, 30, are accused of fatally stabbing Lockhart, a 24-year-old Bourbon Street dancer with whom they were seen leaving Temptations Gentleman’s Club on June 6, 2012. They also are accused of cutting up her body and throwing the pieces into waterways in south Mississippi.
Authorities say the murder occurred at an apartment in Kenner, and the pair are expected to be tried separately before Grefer on charges of second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The latter charges are tied to the dismemberment of the body, parts of which began washing up onshore several days after Speaks’ car was recorded leaving Louisiana and returning from Mississippi the same night.
A second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole, probation or a suspended sentence.
Court records filed in connection with Monday’s sentencing indicate Speaks has used a number of aliases, including Allen Rice, Leslie Allen Rice and Leslie Rice.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.