Suspect in Bourbon Street dancer's murder could be transferred to N. Carolina

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:04 AM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: mrodriguez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

NEW ORLEANS-- A suspect in the murder of Bourbon Street dancer Jaren Lockhart could be transferred out of state on an unrelated charge. Terry Speaks, 39, went before a Federal Magistrate judge in New Orleans on Friday and waived his right to a detention hearing. That allows for his transfer back to North Carolina on a sex offender charge.

"What's going with Mr. Speaks is that he is presently in federal custody of the United States Marshal," said Eyewitness News Legal Analyst Chick Foret. "Mr. Speaks was indicted some months ago in Federal Court in North Carolina, for failing to register as a sex offender."

Investigators in Mississippi said they were not worried about the pending transfer.

"He'd just be an airplane ride back to the coast," said Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan, with the Hancock County Sheriff's Office.

In the meantime, investigators in Hancock County, Mississippi, said they have been tracking numerous tips in Lockhart's murder. More than a week after her remains began washing ashore in Mississippi, investigators are using both science and field work to try and figure out what happened during her final hours.

"We're considering the possibility of using some sophisticated sonar equipment to do some bottom searching for some additional evidence or maybe some weapons," said Grannan. That sonar equipment was tested on Friday in Long Beach.

Investigators said they are also turning to oceanographers at Mississippi State University for their expertise on currents and tides in the Mississippi Sound. They hope it might help them backtrack to where Lockhart's remains were placed in the water.

The Sheriff's Office said they are also canvassing businesses along the Mississippi Coast, looking for video security footage, which may be able to connect to the area the two prime suspects in Lockhart's murder: Speaks and 28-year-old Margaret Sanchez.

"Hopefully, we've captured them on some video-- maybe stopping for some fuel, maybe stopping for a soft drink or use the restroom," Grannan said. "Hopefully, maybe a convenience store has captured them on a video, put them in the state of Mississippi."

On Friday, authorities released a photos of the suspects' vehicle: a 2001 forest green Chevy Lumina.

"We ask please, if you have something you think is relevant, please call us," said Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass. "Even if you don't think it's relevant, it's just info, call us. We'll verify it."

While Speaks faces a pending transfer to North Carolina, Sanchez remains in custody in Tangipahoa Parish, on charges related to the night she and Speaks were pulled over in a vehicle there.

"Let's face it: these two are our primary suspects because we cannot establish our victim having made contact with anyone else but these two people before she died," Grannan said.

The Hancock County Sheriff's Office said their investigators have spent thousands of manpower hours on this case and received hundreds of tips through Crimestoppers and social media. They are just one of jurisdictions involved in the investigation, which includes Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Kenner and New Orleans, along with federal authorities.

"As the evidence unfolds, I think the law enforcement aspect, the prosecutorial aspect of this case, we'll certainly find out where the proper jurisdiction is for prosecution," Foret said.
 
Anyone with information on this case or who may have seen the suspects' vehicle in Mississippi last week, is being asked to call their area Crimestoppers or the Hancock County Sheriff's Office at (228) 255-9191.
 

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