Murder suspect in Jaren Lockhart case goes before a judge

Margaret Sanchez will be held on charges of second degree murder and obstruction of justice. (Photo source: Kenner Police Dept.)
Margaret Sanchez will be held on charges of second degree murder and obstruction of justice. (Photo source: Kenner Police Dept.)

KENNER, LA (WLOX) - During a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning, Margaret Sanchez's attorney told a Louisiana judge Sanchez was at work when Jaren Lockhart was brutally murdered. However, Hancock County deputies and Kenner Police investigators were able to convince the judge otherwise.

Detectives who took the stand did admit there is currently no physical or DNA evidence to link Sanchez to the crime. But investigators told the judge they have enough other evidence to show Sanchez was with Terry Speaks when Lockhart was murdered.

Legal Analyst Attorney Joe Raspanti said DNA is not always necessary.

"I think DNA stuff is still coming down the pipe line, they may or may not have it," Raspanti said. "The body was floating in the water, it could have contaminated it, I don't know. But you don't need DNA to prove a case; you could prove it with other things."

For the first time, investigators talked about an email Speaks sent to Sanchez after he was interviewed by detectives in jail. Speaks reportedly told Sanchez, "I did everything to clean up the mess you made."

Investigators also told the judge surveillance video shows Lockhart leaving a night club with both Speaks and Sanchez. License plate recognition cameras tracked Sanchez and Speaks's car from New Orleans to Kenner, and later to Mississippi.

All the evidence contradicted the defense's story that Sanchez was at work when Lockhart was murdered.

"I think the defense for this young lady is going to try and separate her from the co-defendant as much as possible," Raspanti said. "Whether or not he is able to do that, we will see. But I think that is going to be their point going forward."

Terry Speaks has not yet been charged in Lockhart's murder.

"I don't know why, but it seems that will be forth coming shortly," Raspanti said. "The sounds of their case he has implicated as much as she is."

Speaks remains in a New York prison for failing to register as a sex offender. Louisiana authorities have a hold on Speaks for charges unrelated to the murder, so officials said he will not be going anywhere.

The next step in the case against Sanchez is for prosecutors to prove to a grand jury there is enough evidence to indict her and send the case to trial.

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