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Letecia Stauch appointed defense attorney, no longer representing herself

Preliminary hearing now set for September 9 and 10
Letecia Stauch (EPCSO booking photo)
Posted at 3:17 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 20:30:21-04

EL PASO COUNTY — Court documents released on May 3 show Letecia Stauch requested a state attorney be appointed to her case, after waiving her right to counsel and deciding to represent herself. Records filed on May 7 show her advisory counsel while a pro se defendant, Josh Tolini, has been appointed to the case.

Stauch is accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson Gannon in their Lorson Ranch home on January 27, 2020.

Stauch's preliminary hearing was set for the end of May when she was representing herself, but has been pushed back to September 9 and 10 to give Tolini time to review all of the evidence in this case. Tolini also had many other cases scheduled already this summer.

A preliminary hearing is when prosecutors will have to convince the judge there is enough evidence in the case to take it to trial.

In a court appearance on May 5, Judge Werner ruled Stauch would be appointed the same team of public defenders she had before she decided to represent herself. Later that day, a different judge found a conflict in the case and ruled she will be appointed new attorneys. Her new defense attorney has now been appointed as Tolini.

Recently, Stauch's law library privileges were revoked until July after she refused to go during her scheduled slots. The law library is a place where pro se inmates can go to prepare for their court appearances.

Stauch had previously been adamant about representing herself, saying she doesn't believe experts in the legal system hold much value in this case. In her Arguello Advisement, she said she has "23 hours a day to work." She also compared the case to poker and believes she has an "ace in the hole," insinuating she is innocent.

Local attorney Stephen Longo has said in the past how challenging it is for pro se defendants in any case, but especially a case of this magnitude. "It's a good move on her part. I think what we're probably more curious about, is why now? Whether this was all a ploy, a game to delay things, that she concocted? Or, was it that she honestly thought she could do it, got into a little bit, and realized maybe this isn't such a good idea and wanted counsel back," said Longo.

The prosecution's witness list for the preliminary hearings was also released online. Out of the seven names listed, five are from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, and one is from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Harley Hunt is also on the list, Stauch's daughter. "The standard at a preliminary hearing is very, very low, for a state to meet their burden for the case to continue. But, I think it does give us a preview of what to expect. Outside of all the forensic evidence that we expect to see in the trial, we want some of that common sense evidence as well," said Longo.

The arrest affidavit claims Stauch texted Hunt to buy carpet cleaner, trash bags, and baking soda. Investigators believe these products were used to clean Gannon's murder scene. The affidavit states there is a receipt to confirm the purchase.