Kenner woman eligible for bail in slaying case
A Kenner woman questioned in the death and dismembering of a New Orleans dancer refused twice to waive extradition proceedings to Hancock County, Miss., but the chief deputy there says his office never requested the transfer in the first place.
Margaret A. Sanchez, 28, and Terry Christopher Speaks, 39, both of Kenner, were arrested Tuesday night in Tangipahoa Parish on counts unrelated to the death of Jaren Lockhart.
Lockhart, 22, was reported missing after she didn’t come home from work June 6, authorities said.
Lockhart’s partial remains and clothing washed ashore on several Mississippi beaches last week, beginning with Bay St. Louis, in Hancock County, on June 7, authorities said.
Investigators said they tracked down the Kenner couple based on callers’ tips after a surveillance video was released showing a man and woman leaving a Bourbon Street club with Lockhart several hours before her boyfriend reported her missing.
Sanchez appeared before Judge Robert Morrison in 21st Judicial District Court in Amite on Thursday morning and refused to sign papers that would send her to Hancock County, Chief Public Defender Reggie McIntyre said.
Sanchez also had appeared in court for an extradition hearing Wednesday afternoon, McIntyre said.
But Chief Deputy Don Bass, of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, said his agency had not filed extradition papers on Sanchez.
“I’m not sure what that’s all about, but it has nothing to do with Mississippi or with Hancock County,” Bass said Thursday afternoon.
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said the two extradition hearings apparently were in error.
“It was a big misunderstanding by the jail and the judge because her (Sanchez’s) paperwork with the jail had something in the description about her being detained for Hancock County,” Perrilloux said late Thursday. “But we don’t have any paperwork on that.
“Apparently, nobody actually looked for a copy of the warrant or something that would give Mississippi the right to hold her,” Perrilloux said.
Sanchez remains in the Tangipahoa Parish Jail in lieu of $1,500 bail, deputies said Thursday evening.
Deputies previously said a hold had been placed on Sanchez, but McIntyre and Perrilloux agree that unless the hold is in writing, nothing would prevent Sanchez from posting bail if she is able to do so.
“The next step is in the hands of Hancock County,” McIntyre said. “If they want to indict her or charge her, or if they intend to extradite her as a material witness, they’re going to have to file some more paperwork.
“But right now, all we have is a misdemeanor traffic case,” McIntyre said.
Sanchez was booked with failure to signal and resisting an officer, according to deputies at the jail.
McIntyre said the resisting charge is based on Sanchez giving the officers an incorrect name for Speaks, who authorities say has used multiple aliases across several states.
Speaks was booked with resisting an officer, resisting an officer by flight, aggravated assault and being a fugitive from the U.S. Marshals Service, deputies said.
The U.S. Marshals Service took custody of Speaks on Wednesday, said Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Doug Farrell, of the New Orleans office.
Farrell declined to say where Speaks was being held, but noted that Speaks has a hearing scheduled Friday in New Orleans federal court.
Speaks is wanted in North Carolina for failure to register as a sex offender, Farrell said.
According to the North Carolina Offender Registry, Speaks was convicted in 2003 on three counts of indecent liberty with a minor in Surry County, N.C.
His most recent address verification was in March 2011, according to the registry.
Court records show a warrant was issued for Speaks’ arrest on Feb. 28 based on a grand jury indictment finding he had moved without updating his address as required.
Bass said the investigation into Lockhart’s death is ongoing, and that officials await more information about the property seized from the Kenner couple’s residence Wednesday.
“The FBI Violent Crimes Task Force was conducting the process primarily. We were just assisting,” Bass said of the search.
Bass said he didn’t know what pieces of evidence were taken from the home, but he hoped they would help investigators determine where the killing took place.