Suspect in murder of dismembered woman has criminal history

Several body parts from the dismembered body of exotic dancer Jalen Lockhart (top) washed up on the shores of Mississippi's Gulf Coast. Terry Speaks (l) and Margaret Sanchez (r) are considered suspects in her murder.

From Media Reports

KILN – Terry Speaks, a suspect in the recent murder and dismemberment of 22-year-old exotic dancer Jaren Lockhart, has a substantial criminal history, including convictions for having sex with a 14-year-old, assaulting a woman and domestic violence, records show.

The convictions all occurred in Surry County, N.C. The most recent was the sex offense, of which Speaks was found guilty in 2003, when he was 31. Speaks had to register as a sex offender as a result of his 2003 conviction. That charge landed him in front of a federal magistrate judge in New Orleans on Friday, who ordered him transferred to North Carolina for arraignment.

Glenn Grannan, chief investigator for the Hancock County, Miss., sheriff’s office, the lead agency investigating Lockhart’s death, said he does not believe Speaks’ transfer to North Carolina will be immediate. Nor does he believe Speaks’ move will affect Hancock County’s investigation into Lockhart’s death.

“If we charge him with anything, we’ll just put him on a plane and fly him down to Mississippi,” Grannan said.

Lockhart, who worked as a Bourbon Street dancer, went missing two weeks ago. Two days later, her dismembered torso washed ashore in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Two days after that, her head was found in Long Beach. Two pieces of her leg were found the same day in different locations in Pass Christian.

Lockhart’s finance last saw her June 5 at the Tulane Avenue motel where they stayed. She worked as a dancer at Temptations in the 300 block of Bourbon Street that night. Her finance reported her missing when she never returned from that shift.

Video surveillance obtained by authorities showed Lockhart walking down the street with a couple, later identified by authorities as Speaks and Margaret Sanchez. Authorities initially labeled the pair “persons of interest,” but named them suspects Thursday, June 14, after they were arrested in Tangipahoa Parish, both sporting recently dyed hair — his orange, hers blue, in an effort to conceal their identity.

Grannan said both Speaks and Sanchez have remained silent during questioning.

Grannan said Hancock County officials on Friday conducted tests using sonar equipment off the coast of Long Beach, Miss. They were looking for the hunting knife they believe was used to stab Lockhart in the chest and kill her.

“We knew the victim suffered a chest wound with some sort of hunting knife, so we were looking for something similar,” Grannan said. “All we found was a crab trap.”

While he awaits extradition to Mississippi, Grannan said Speaks is being held in a St. Tammany Parish jail being treated for injuries he sustained during his arrest. When authorities pulled him over in a traffic stop, he tried to flee, jumping a fence and running across a field and into a wooded area.

A woman who answered the phone Friday at Speaks’ mother’s house in North Carolina said that Speaks has done nothing wrong.

“He ain’t done nothing wrong,” said the woman, who declined to identify herself. “They’re just going to have to call off the investigation.”

WVUE-TV reported Thursday that Margaret Sanchez, of Kenner, refused to sign extradition papers that would send her from Amite to Hancock County.

During a court appearance Wednesday, WVUE-TV reported that Sanchez cried uncontrollably and repeatedly asked the judge to speak with her father. The judge decided she was unfit to make any decision and moved the hearing to Thursday. She maintained her composure in that appearance, the station reported.

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