Witness: I told Jaren Lockhart ‘I love you, be careful’

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Jaren Lockhart

GRETNA, La. (WGNO) – The trial against accused murderer Terry Speaks started off differently on Day 3. Speaks stepped down and handed the reins back over to his attorneys John Benz and Brad Scott. Benz and Scott immediately filed a motion for a mistrial, saying when Speaks represented himself, he made all kinds of mistakes.

“This puts us at a disadvantage. We didn’t pick the jury or cross-examine witnesses,” said Benz.

“The defendant made his own choices in this case. He was fully advised of the consequences. It is no action of the state or the court that made him make that decision,” said Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese.

Judge Steve Grefer sided with the prosecution, “I don’t think Terry Speaks was ineffectively represented, he was fully advised of the consequences. Motion for mistrial denied.”

Then the prosecution called several witnesses. Six of them dancers or waitresses at either ‘Temptations’ or ‘Stilettos’ on Bourbon Street. All of them said they saw Lockhart leave with Speaks and his then-girlfriend, Margaret Sanchez.

The dancers testified that Speaks and Sanchez approached them, asking about a threesome or a private party or to come home with them for money.
All of them had similar stories, rejecting Speaks and Sanchez.

One of the dancers said Sanchez asked her if a girl would go home with her and her boyfriend for his birthday. She told Sanchez, “this isn’t a whorehouse, go next door.” Soon after, she saw Jaren with the couple and told the court, she thought to herself “stupid [EXPLETIVE].”

A waitress took the stand and was very emotional during her testimony. She said she saw Jaren before she took off and Jaren told her, “I only made 75 dollars and I need to make rent, I am going to do this party.”

She told Jaren, “I love you, be careful.” The then witness sighed and wiped the tears off of her face.

Jeremy Foster, Jaren’s boyfriend, and the father of her daughter Riley, also had an emotional testimony. He testified that Jaren did not return home after work when he woke up at 5 a.m.

Foster said called Jaren’s phone, but it went straight to voicemail, so he called her friends, but they said that she should be heading home soon. He woke up around 9 a.m., and there was still no sign of Jaren.

Foster said he went to police and filed the proper paperwork as soon as he could. The prosecution showed him a picture of his daughter Riley and Jaren together and his voice started cracking and he wiped away tears.

During cross-examination, the defense questioned some of the witnesses about their criminal history. One of the dancers is currently in jail for drug charges and Jaren’s boyfriend has a past drug conviction.

Attorneys for Speaks also focused on how no one actually knows what happened to Jaren after she left Bourbon Street with Speaks and Sanchez.

Other witnesses called to the stand included people who worked with Sanchez. One said the day after Jaren went missing, Sanchez came into work looking pale and sick with messy hair and Speaks had dirty feet.

Another woman, a friend of Sanchez, said that Sanchez and Speaks usually had a messy home and car, but days before their arrest, their home and car had been cleaned and smelled of bleach.

More witnesses will be called to the stand today, now more than a dozen have been called by the prosecution. Stick with WGNO for the latest on this case.

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