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Killer to testify at alleged co-conspirator's trial

GRETNA, La. -- Convicted killer Terry Speaks will testify during the trial of his accused co-conspirator in the killing and dismemberment of Bourbon Street dancer Jaren Lockhart.

The New Orleans Advocate reports Jefferson Parish Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese noted their intent to put Speaks on the stand during a hearing Monday.

State District Judge Stephen Grefer also denied defense motions to throw out charges against Margaret Sanchez and move her trial to another parish. Grefer set a new date of July 11 for the trial, which was originally scheduled to begin this week.

Prosecutors said Sanchez and Speaks lured Lockhart from Temptations Gentlemen's Club to their home in Kenner, stabbed her in the chest, dismembered her body and scattered the pieces in the bayous of Mississippi, where they washed up on shore.

Speaks was convicted in June for the slaying and sentenced to life in prison.

On Monday, Sanchez's attorney, Anna Friedberg, argued that the media attention the case has garnered since Lockhart's killing will make it impossible to find an impartial jury in Jefferson.

"If we're honest with ourselves, anyone we talk to knows about this case," she said, noting there's no way to know if prospective jurors are telling the truth when they answer questions about what they know and whether they can be impartial.

"But that's not unique to this case. You deal with that issue in every case, right?" Grefer replied.

Freese argued that by the time of the trial, four years will have passed since the killing and that metro New Orleans has had hundreds of homicides since then. He said the court has the experience of Speaks' June trial to support the contention that the case can be tried fairly despite the publicity.

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