COLORADO SPRINGS — Day three in the Letecia Stauch murder trial continued with Al Stauch, Gannon’s father, taking the stand to testify. The day began with hearing a series of FBI-recorded phone calls between Al and Letecia, from February 2020, weeks after Gannon’s disappearance.
Jurors and people in the courtroom then listened to Letecia change her story several times about what happened to Gannon on the day he disappeared.
She first blamed Gannon’s disappearance on a man who was hiding in the Stauch’s home and kidnapped Gannon. She said the man had information about her, and it was too dangerous, which is why she couldn’t tell Al his name. She also said the man was in the home when police searched the home on the Monday Gannon disappeared.
Letecia repeatedly asked Al for immunity, to which he responded he can’t do it. Letecia said she’ll give the man’s name if Al could promise immunity.
Al - “Did this guy kill him? Did he kill him in the house? Or do you know if he killed Gannon or not?… I can’t give you immunity. I am your husband, I am not the police or the judge.”
In another recorded phone call, Letecia said a man was following her on Monday, the day Gannon disappeared, when she was at Petco, and when she went to look at a bike for Al. In another recorded phone call, Letecia said a man got into their truck with her and Gannon, and also said the man was with them in the vehicle, as they rode all the way back home.
“This is even more bulls**t than the original 17 stories,” said Al during the phone conversation. “You’re spinning me in 12 different directions.”
Letecia told Al the man’s name was Eduardo. Then she went on to say his name is actually Quincy Brown. Later on, she said Gannon was riding a bike and fell off and got hurt “real bad,” and a man then took him.
Through tears, Letecia said she was tired of crying. She told Al that he hasn’t been on her side because he isn’t talking to her. Al said, he just doesn’t know what was going on, “We have a gap between us right now... There’s no closing that gap until we get to the truth,” Al added.
Al said he assumed Letecia was crying in some parts of the conversation, but he also believed some of her emotions and crying were fake. Al believed she was trying to manipulate him.
District Attorney Michael Allen then asked Al questions about Letecia knowing right from wrong and her mental condition or illnesses.
Allen asked Al what his opinion is on Letecia’s sanity. Al - “I believe she was and absolutely is 100% sane on what I witnessed and laid out. I have no indication it was anything else. From the time I met her, even to today.”
As all of these recorded phone calls between Al and Letecia are playing in the courtroom, Letecia is seen with her head down, and her head in her hands.
The defense attorneys then prepared to cross-examine Al.
Josh Tolini with the Defense: “You’re aware of late fall 2019, she was having mental health issues?” Al - “I was not aware of that.”
The defense asked Al if he was aware that the doctor Letecia was seeing, advised her to quit her job because her mental health issues were so severe. Al said he wasn’t aware of that.
The prosecution then called their second witness to the stand who was Macon Ponder. He’s a bridge inspector from Panama City, Florida. Ponder was asked to describe March 17, 2020, the day he was inspecting a bridge and found a suitcase that Gannon’s body was inside.
“I was the first one to unzip it. As soon as we unzipped it, we noticed the smell,” said Ponder. “The smell was so powering, we took a step back… We immediately knew it was a body.”
Ponder said he and his team stopped their inspection of the bridge, and immediately called 9-1-1.
The prosecution then called their third witness to the stand, Jason Yoder. He’s a criminal investigator with the Escambia Sheriff’s Office, on the Alabama/Florida state line. In March 2020, he said he was a major crimes detective that got called out to the scene where the suitcase was discovered.
Yoder said after discovering of the suitcase, a flyer was brought to his attention about a missing boy from Colorado named Gannon. He was then named the lead detective in Florida.
Dozens more witnesses will be testifying in the weeks ahead. The trial is expected to take up to six weeks.
Letecia Stauch is the El Paso County woman accused of killing her stepson Gannon Stauch in January 2020. Stauch has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
As is normal in Colorado courts, media coverage of the events will be limited. As of right now, no cameras will be allowed in the courtroom to cover the actual trial process. However, anyone can watch using the virtual courtroom option from the El Paso County court system.
On the first day of testimony from her ex-husband Al Stauch, the prosecution is on a path to demonstrate allegations the stepmother lied to her husband and law enforcement in an attempt to manipulate the investigation.
Under questioning from District Attorney Michael Allen, Al Stauch described Letecia as manipulative, and also spoke about the moment that he began questioning Letecia’s involvement in his son’s disappearance.
Al said he was out of town for work and military training in Oklahoma, when he learned about his son’s disappearance on Monday, January 27, he said he flew home so he could help find his son.
Recorded phone conversations between the couple at the time demonstrate how the husband was already questioning the version of events his wife presented to him about Gannon's disappearance.
District Attorney Michael Allen said the FBI was working with Al at this point, and told him how to handle the conversation. Al said he was looking to know more about the timeline leading up to Gannon’s disappearance.
During the phone conversation, you heard Letecia talk about a man who had broken into their home, raped and beat her, then kidnapped the son. “My mind was completely f**king gone,” Letecia Stauch said. “I tried, I didn’t know what was going on." Earlier in the testimony, Al said, “My first impression was that it was a bulls**t story.”
During the phone conversation, Letecia claimed she was being treated like a criminal, and investigators and law enforcement were “barking up the wrong tree.”
Al: “I have a very straight up question. Did you kill Gannon?”
Al: “I need you to answer me, yes or no.”
Letecia: “Did I kill Gannon? The answer is no. I can’t believe you asked me this,” she yelled.
Al: “I have to be straight up… There’s a lot of unknowns. This is the 4th version of the same story… I just don’t know what the hell is going on.”
Letecia: “I loved Gannon… I would never want to hurt Gannon.”
District Attorney Michael Allen asked Al about a few examples in his and Letecia’s relationship where he felt manipulated by her. Those included two false burglary reports, and claims of sexual harassment from someone in Al’s unit while he was stationed in Alaska, which eventually led Al to want to leave. Allen also asked Al if Letecia told Al that she was pregnant with twins at one point. Al responded, “Yes.” He went on to say, he believes she was never pregnant with twins, and he never went to doctor’s appointments related to pregnancy.
Throughout Al’s testimony, Letecia had her head facing down, with her hair covering her face.
At the time of his disappearance, law enforcement began a search for Gannon based on information provided by the stepmother who claimed he had gone to a friend’s house and had not returned.
Following several weeks of law enforcement and community-led searches for the missing boy, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office arrested Letecia Stauch in early March on charges of murder, child abuse, and crime of violence before his body was recovered.
Throughout all efforts to locate Gannon, investigators were already focused on Letecia Stauch based on her statements to law enforcement and evidence found at the family home and within her car.
During an initial interview with detectives, Letecia Stauch claimed a Hispanic male had raped her and kidnapped Gannon. According to court documents, she refused to undergo a medical examination to find evidence of a sexual assault and refused to provide any further description of an attacker. She later provided many different versions of events, which investigators detailed in the arrest affidavit.
Investigators believe Gannon was shot, stabbed, and beaten in his basement bedroom by the stepmother on January 27, 2020. A forensic search of the family home found blood stains were found on the boy’s mattress, carpet, baseboards, and electrical socket by his bed.
Police say Gannon’s body was loaded into Stauch’s Volkswagen Tiguan to hide his body before she parked the car at the Colorado Springs Airport where she rented another vehicle and picked up his father after he traveled for military service.
One of the areas searched by law enforcement was a stretch of Highway 105 in Douglas County where investigators recovered a piece of bloody wood. The arrest affidavit states investigators believe Gannon’s body was originally dumped at this location using her Volkswagen, but she later returned to the area in another vehicle.
Gannon’s remains were eventually found on March 17, 2020, inside a suitcase dumped under a bridge near Pace, Florida. Investigators believe the stepmother dumped the body during a trip to South Carolina.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.