Posted: Jun 28, 2012 11:10 AM by AP
Updated: Jun 28, 2012 11:11 AM
AMITE, La. (AP) - A state judge has reduced the bond for a Kenner woman suspected but not charged in the death and dismembering of New Orleans dancer.
The Advocate reports Judge Ernest Drake reduced Margaret Sanchez's bond from $250,000 to $35,000 on Wednesday.
The counts against the 29-year-old Sanchez - failure to signal, resisting an officer by giving misinformation and harboring a sex offender - are not sufficient to warrant a bail that exceeds the 21st Judicial District's own guidelines even for defendants in a murder case, Judge Ernest Drake ruled.
The district's "bond schedule" calls for $150,000 bail in murder cases, Drake said during a hearing on a defense motion to reduce Sanchez's bail. Charges related to sex crimes have bail recommendations ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, he said.
Noting that no listed criminal count calls for a bail as high as $250,000, Drake asked, "Is there anything so heinous about this case as to indicate a need to go higher than what's on the schedule?"
Assistant Public Defender Allen Harvey said Sanchez's bail should be set at $25,000, based on a catch-all provision for felonies not specifically listed on the schedule. Harboring a sex offender is an unlisted offense, he said.
Lockhart was reported missing June 6 after she did not return home from working at a Bourbon Street strip club. Her partial remains and clothing later washed ashore on several Mississippi beaches, beginning June 7 in Hancock County.
Sanchez and Terry Speaks, 38, a convicted sex offender from North Carolina, were found and arrested in Tangipahoa Parish on June 12 after police received calls identifying the pair as the couple seen on a surveillance video leaving the club with Lockhart around 2 a.m. the day she was reported missing.
Neither Sanchez nor Speaks has been charged in Lockhart's death.