Jury selection for the murder trial of Letecia Stauch is scheduled to begin Monday in Colorado, at the El Paso County District Court.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, prosecutors say 11-year-old Gannon Stauch was stabbed, shot, and beaten inside the family’s El Paso County home in January 2020. Months later, his body was found stuffed into a suitcase beneath a bridge in Pace, Florida.
Letecia Stauch, 39, was arrested in 2020 and charged with his murder. Despite numerous setbacks since her arrests, the trial is scheduled for March 20, when jury selection starts. A final sanity report is still pending, but Judge Gregory Warner said earlier this month that the defense has no later than March 16, by 5 p.m., to hand the report over.
“It is not a suggestion, it is not a guideline, it is not a hope, it is a deadline,” Werner said.
The final results of the mental evaluations were initially expected to be completed by Dec. 1, 2022, according to Stauch’s defense.
Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said earlier this month that the prosecution hopes to see the report before the trial starts, while the defense argued that they’re trying to best to get the report in. Both sides agreed that they want the trial to continue as scheduled.
As of Thursday, the report still has not been submitted to the court, but the trial will still continue as planned on Monday, The Colorado Gazette reports.
“This is a disrespect to court deadlines,” Allen said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Allen said that the absence of the final sanity report edges on “bad faith” by the defense, adding that the expert witness, identified as “Dr. Lewis,” should be excluded from
Stauch’s defense lawyer, Josh Tolini, previously told the court that the report was scheduled to be filed, but Lewis said she wanted Stauch to undergo an MRI before filing the final report.
“If she (Dr. Lewis) wants to testify here in this case, it has to be done (by the deadline),” Werner said.
Opening statements are scheduled to start no later than April 3. The trial proceedings are expected to be broadcast via webinar.
Prosecutors said last year in a 32-page affidavit in 2020 that “probable cause exists to believe that” Stauch murdered her stepson on January 27, 2020, the day he was reported missing. Text messages and Internet searches indicate that Stauch may have possibly been overwhelmed with taking care of Gannon.
Search queries allegedly found on Stauch’s phone included, in part:
- find real military singles
- parenting should be 4 people, not one
- ‘im doing all the work for my stepkids and their mom doesnt help
- I wonder if my husbands wife is sending me a card since I. raise. her. kids
- why should my husband choose me over family
- one day some people will wish. they treated you differently
- find me a rich guy who. wants me to take care of his kids
“Based on Letecia’s internet history, it’s reasonable to believe she was unhappily married to Mr. Stauch and had some degree of resentment toward the family as a stepparent,” the affidavit read. “Furthermore, days before Gannon’s murder, Letecia appeared to be researching a move to another state to a two-bedroom apartment.”
Stauch was the sole caregiver at the time of the boy’s disappearance and death. Gannon lived with Stauch and his father at the time of his death.
Al Stauch was on a work trip with the U.S. National Guards in Oklahoma when his son vanished. Gannon’s biological mother, Landen Hiott, was in South Carolina. Gannon’s body was found months later, under a bridge in Pace, Florida.
According to the affidavit, Letecia Stauch brutally attacked and killed Gannon inside his bedroom. Despite a neighbor who said his video showed Stauch leaving with Gannon that morning and later returning home alone, investigators believe that “Gannon likely did return home with Letecia that afternoon,” and died inside the residence.
Evidence from inside Gannon’s bedroom includes blood spatter on the walls, blood that soaked through the carpet, 50 droplets of blood on the wall, blood on wall sockets, and blood on the boy’s mattress.
“Based on the orientation of Gannon’s bed, the vast majority of the blood would be in line with the position of his head and torso,” the affidavit read.
A store receipt obtained by investigators showed a purchase for baking soda, a carpet cleaner, and trash bags on January 27, after 6 p.m. Investigators obtained Stauch’s phone and according to text messages, she instructed her 17-year-old daughter to buy the items for her.
Prosecutors allege that Stauch used the purchased items to clean up the crime scene. Investigators said the 17-year-old was likely not present when Gannon was killed.
Letecia Stauch is facing charges of:
- Murder in the First Degree (Child Under Twelve-Position of Trust §18-3-102(1)(f))
- Child Abuse Resulting in Death §18-6-401(1)(a), (7)(A)(I)
- Tampering with a Deceased Human Body, §18-8-610.5
- Tampering with Physical Evidence, §18-8-610(1)(a)
PART ONE: Tecia Stauch Interview
PART TWO: Tecia Stauch Interview
PART THREE: Tecia Stauch Interview
Neighbor Roderrick Drayton Interview
CLICK HERE to see all of our coverage on Gannon Stauch
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[Feature Photo: Albert, Letecia, and Gannon Stauch [Facebook; Police Handout]