I'm guessing they didn't want to pay her.
Detectives investigating the murder and dismemberment of Bourbon Street dancer Jaren Lockhart say two federal inmates in New York provided information that helped them link the crime to a Kenner couple, according to testimony Tuesday.
That information in large part was used by the Kenner Police Department earlier this month to book Margaret Sanchez,
30, with second-degree murder and obstruction of justice in the
two-year-old murder investigation. Sanchez was arrested May 7, at her
parents' home in Metairie.
Sanchez, a petite woman whose short brown hair reveals a tattoo of a dragonfly on the nape of her neck, appeared in the 24th Judicial District Court
Tuesday morning, for a hearing sought by public defender Raul Guerra,
to test whether police have enough evidence to continue holding her in
jail. She did not testify.
After hearing testimony from two detectives, Commissioner Patricia
Joyce found police have sufficient evidence to continue holding her on
both charges. Police think Sanchez and Terry Speaks,
41, who was described during the hearing as her husband, killed
Lockhart on June 6, 2012, and obstructed justice by cutting up her body
in an effort to eliminate evidence.
Police say Lockhart, 22, who was a dancer at Temptations Gentlemen's
Club, accepted an offer from Sanchez and Speaks, on June 6, 2012, to
leave with them for a party or sex in exchange for money. Most of
Lockhart's body parts were found along the Mississippi Gulf Coast the
Sanchez and Speaks have been suspects since shortly after Lockhart's
remains were found. But Kenner police, who took over the investigation
from the Hancock County, Miss., Sheriff's Office, booked Sanchez earlier
this month. Speaks serving a 32-month sentence at the Otisville, N.Y., Federal Correctional Institute, for failing to register as a sex offender
in Louisiana after moving from North Carolina. He was convicted in 2003
of sex with a minor, and is scheduled to be released in October. He has
not been booked in Lockhart's murder but is a suspect.
It was at the Otisville facility that two inmates volunteered that Speaks made incriminating statements,
Kenner police Detective David Stromeyer testified. Neither inmate was
identified, but both are seeking deals with the government in exchange
for their information, detectives said. One provided "generic"
information, while the second one gave specific details on what Speaks
allegedly said, Stromeyer testified.
The informants told authorities that Speaks said he and his wife
picked up a stripper at a Bourbon Street club, and used drugs and
alcohol as they drove to a place near an airport, Stromeyer said. At the
time Lockhart was killed, Sanchez and Speaks lived in a Connecticut
Avenue home near Louis Armstrong International Airport, detectives said.
Speaks told one of the inmates that Sanchez and the victim got into a
fight, "and that the female ended up dead," Stromeyer testified.
The inmate did not say who killed Lockhart. She died from a single
stab wound to her chest, Hancock County Detective Steve Saucier
Neither Sanchez nor Speaks has given statements to police
incriminating themselves or each other, the detectives said. Sanchez
acknowledged she and Speaks were at the club, and that they left the
club. She remembered nothing after that, Saucier testified.
Speaks offered a similar statement, including that he was with
Sanchez all evening, the detective testified. "He remembers everything
up to the point of getting into the vehicle when they left the French
Quarter that night," Saucier testified.
'Cleaned up the mess'
However, after FBI agents and Hancock County detectives interviewed
Speaks at the New York prison last year, Speaks wrote an email to
Sanchez on the night of July 5, Stromeyer testified. The content was
circumstantial but highly suggestive, and it included Speaks angrily
telling Sanchez that he "cleaned up the mess," but she was not jailed,
that their use of drugs as an excuse would not work, and that more than
one person's bodily fluids were in her panties. He appeared to threaten
he would turn her in.
In another email, Speaks told Sanchez "the night in question was a very special night for them," Stromeyer said.
The detective also said authorities have other suspects. He did not elaborate.
The detectives conceded Tuesday that they have no physical evidence,
including DNA, that links Sanchez to Lockhart. Detectives said the FBI
is still analyzing evidence at its laboratory in Quantico, Va., and
Jefferson Parish Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese said the
investigation is ongoing.
Detectives found evidence that Sanchez's car was cleansed, Saucier
said. From the Connecticut Avenue home in Kenner, detectives seized a
rope, videos, a video camera, a mattress and drain pipes. The detectives
said a substance that might be blood was found on a mattress,
floorboards and an electrical outlet in a bedroom. Saucier said he knows
of "at least three knives and one sword" that also are undergoing
testing by the FBI.
Sanchez and Speaks had gone to two French Quarter gentlemen's clubs,
asking numerous dancers to leave with them, Saucier testified. "Everyone
they asked declined their offer," Saucier testified.
Sanchez and Speaks found Lockhart, who told coworkers before leaving
she was going "to go work a private party not sanctioned by the club,"
Saucier testified. She also told coworkers "that she was going to,
quote, 'make rent,'" Saucier testified, suggesting she was going to earn
The trio left the club at 2:05 a.m., Saucier testified. Surveillance
cameras at two other locations in the French Quarter captured images of
Lockhart accompanied by Sanchez and Speaks, Saucier testified.
About 23 minutes later, Sanchez's green Chevrolet Lumina was at
Veterans Memorial and Williams boulevards in Kenner, according to data
police obtained from a license plate recognition camera at the
intersection, Saucier testified.
At 10 a.m., about eight hours after leaving Bourbon Streets, Speaks
dropped Sanchez off at her job, Saucier testified, citing statements
from Sanchez's coworkers. "They both appeared tired, dirty, and they
smelled really bad," Saucier said.
At 6 p.m., that evening, Speaks picked up Sanchez from her job.
Speaks also dropped off his dog with a coworker, Saucier testified.
Sanchez's car then crossed the state line into Mississippi on Interstate
10 at 9:34 p.m., and crossed back into Louisiana on I-10 at 11:51 p.m.,
Saucier said, citing license plate recognition cameras.
speculate that Jaren Lockhart's killers put her dismembered remains
into the waters along the Mississippi Gulf Coast somewhere between the
Bay St. Louis Bridge and Long Beach, Miss. The bridge is located about
70 miles from Kenner. Investigators used license-plate recognition
cameras to track suspect Margaret Sanchez's vehicle from her Kenner home
to the Mississippi state line less than 20 hours after Lockhart was
last seen with Sanchez and suspect Terry Speaks.
He said Speaks and Sanchez could have driven the route to Long Beach
within the time frame the license plate cameras marked their entry and
exit from Mississippi on I-10.
On June 7, 2012, beach restoration workers found the torso on Bay St.
Louis' shore, Saucier testified. Her head was severed, as were her legs
at the hips and her arms at the elbows, the detective said. Skin also
was removed, from areas of the body matching where Lockhart had tattoos,
Saucier testified. Police suspect the killers were trying to hide the
victim's identity, which is the basis of Sanchez's obstruction of
Other body parts washed up between Long Beach and Pass Christian, the
detective testified. The arms were not found. Detectives tracked the
body parts to Lockhart, because they fit the description that her
boyfriend provided when he filed a missing person's report on June 6,
Saucier testified. DNA confirmed the identity, he said.
Using tidal information used by University of Southern Mississippi
marine biologists, detectives believe the torso was tossed from the Bay
St. Louis Bridge, and the other body parts were tossed into the Gulf
near Long Beach and Pass Christian, Saucier testified. Items of
Lockhart's clothing also were found in Mississippi, he said.
Questioned by Guerra, the public defender, Saucier said that opiates
were found in Lockhart's remains through toxicology tests done during
the autopsy, but the pathologist ruled out a fatal overdose. Police
sought to determine her location through her cell phone, but it was
turned off "immediately prior to arriving in Kenner," Saucier testified.