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Judge sets March trial date for Letecia Stauch murder case

Guilty or Not Guilty: Stepmom accused of killing 11-year-old waiting for another mental health evaluation
Posted at 2:13 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-14 09:27:54-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The judge overseeing the case of Letecia Stauch has set a trial date of March 2023. The trial date was set after the court heard the defense has withdrawn a request for a medical exam at the state mental hospital in Pueblo, and will instead have a defense-retained expert conduct testing at the El Paso County Jail by December.

The move to a spring trial date means there are other new hearing dates in this case. The deadline for all motions to be filed will be the week before Christmas with those motions being considered in February.

Today's setting of a trial date should not be considered the final word in scheduling, as the court has seen many reschedulings amid twists, turns, requests, and refusals from the defendant since her arrest in March 2020.

Letecia Stauch is accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson, Gannon Stauch, in 2020. She was in the courtroom today for the hearing and informed the judge she would not be answering any questions, according to her defense counsel.

Despite that statement, the judge confirmed with attorneys that "the clock for a speedy trial" will not start until the requests reviews and tests are complete in December.

These evaluations are meant to determine Stauch's sanity at the time of the alleged crime, not her competency to stand trial. She has been found competent to stand trial twice.

"Competency just means - Do you know what's going on? Do you know that the person sitting up there with the black robe on is a judge? Insanity... is the tough one. That means... if you're accused of committing a crime, at the time when you were actually doing the criminal action... you have no idea what you're doing, you have no idea that what you're doing is wrong," explained Shawn Conti, a Criminal Defense Attorney in Pueblo.

The state hospital has been juggling a combination of bed shortages and staffing issues recently, which is part of why the result of Stauch's first sanity evaluation took roughly nine months to get back.

District Attorney Michael Allen reminded the judge of the prosecution's opposition to the waiving of a jury trial in this case, as they would prefer to seat a jury for the trial.

Civil case filed in federal court

Late last month, the defendant filed a federal lawsuit claiming her first and eighth amendment rights were violated in jail. Stauch names a medical service provider, and a food service provider, as well as two El Paso County deputies in the complaint.

Stauch claims she's been mistreated while in jail by claiming she was not properly given kosher food and that the jail neglected to give her medical care.

Currently, the case is in the initial review period with the court. A judge will decide if the case should be dismissed or if it should proceed.

The latest filing could also play a role in her criminal trial for the murder of her eleven-year-old stepson, Gannon.

"It presents awful," Attorney Stephen Longo said, "it's a decently, well-written complaint that makes specific allegations regarding events that she's making, effectively, a [section] 1983 civil rights claim for."

With conversations surrounding Stauch's mental state, Longo points to the impact it could have on that ruling as the case continues.

"It's generally a complex area of the law and it's decently articulated in the complaint," Longo said, "imagine if you're her defense team, Judge Warner allowed you to change your plea to bring in some of the psychological factors that we've seen, you're really backtracking, it's kind of one step forward, five steps back with this case," Longo said.

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