New film links one woman to two gruesome murders

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Margaret Sanchez on the ABC show Final Witness in July 2012.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - New Orleanians have been riveted lately to the story of Margaret Sanchez and Terry Speaks—lovers accused of stabbing and dismembering French Quarter dancer Jaren Lockhart in 2012.   A grand jury indicted Sanchez and Speaks this year.  But there was an equally sensational murder case in New Orleans nearly ten years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, and a new documentary reveals that Margaret Sanchez had an unusually close connection to that case as well.

In the documentary “Zack and Addie” which played at this week’s  New Orleans Film Festival, Margaret Sanchez is the star narrator, describing how her “very best friends,” Zack Bowen and Addie Hall fell in love in the desperate early days after the hurricane.   Bowen and Hall worked at French Quarter bars, and they were among the first Quarter residents to try to survive in the barely functioning city.

As the film develops, it becomes clear that Bowen and Hall’s relationship grew strained, and for some unknown reason Bowen strangled Hall in their apartment and then dismembered her body in the bathtub.  But perhaps the most horrifying part of the murder was that Bowen put Hall’s body parts in pots on his stove and inside the oven.  Several days later, without telling anyone what he had done, Bowen jumped off the roof of a French Quarter hotel, leaving a suicide note in his pocket, addressed to the police.  In the note, Bowen described what he had done, and detectives followed the trail back to the apartment, where Hall’s remains had been “cooked.”

Filmmaker Rob Florence says a chance meeting with Margaret Sanchez a few years after the murder convinced him that he should do a documentary exploring the reasons why Bowen seemed to snap.  The documentary was finished and Florence was beginning to show it at film festivals around the world, when Sanchez herself was accused in the Lockhart murder.  Florence says when the story broke he was “blown away.”

Florence discussed his documentary with WGNO during the New Orleans Film Festival.  He said Sanchez’s connection to both murders “just shows that (a killer) could be your friend, your neighbor—maybe even you.  And that’s unsettling. “

Florence hopes his documentary will attract the interest of a Hollywood studio and get wider distribution.  In the meantime, he says he “want(s) people to think about it and draw their own conclusions.”

Margaret Sanchez and Terry Speaks are in the Jefferson Parish jail, awaiting their separate trials for murder, sometime next year.