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Cross-examination of defense's key witness continues, jurors continue to watch November sanity evaluation

Posted at 6:13 PM, May 03, 2023

EL PASO COUNTY, CO — The defense continued to make its case Wednesday as the murder trial of Letecia Stauch continued.

The defense began Wednesday by filing a motion to drop all charges against Letecia Stauch, specifically focusing on the first-degree murder charges Letecia is facing.

Josh Tolini, Letecia's lawyer, claimed there is a lack of evidence from the prosecution proving that the murder of Gannon was premeditated by Stauch.

District Attorney Michael Allen said there’s been more than enough evidence of premeditation, including the searches found on Stauch’s phone before Gannon's disappearance, like searching for a one-bedroom/one-bath apartment in Florida, and employment opportunities elsewhere.

Cross-examination continued for Dr. Dorothy Lewis, a psychiatrist who conducted a sanity evaluation on Letecia Stauch. Yesterday, cross-examination from Prosecutor Dave Young got heated as he pressed Dr. Lewis about her credibility and evaluation of Stauch.

Young asked about dissociative identity disorder and the controversy around it.

“The essential controversy is whether people believe it exists or not,” said Dr. Lewis. Dissociative identity disorder is a widely debated topic within the American Psychological community.

Young asked Dr. Lewis how she knows if someone is acting out their symptoms. “What I do is be able to show that there were unmistakable signs of switches, changes, different states, and different abilities to function, long before I was ever asked to be in any case,” said Dr. Lewis.

Dr. Lewis said she remembered in her notes about Stauch, “someone had said when she was younger, she asked to be called Maria… That in and of itself is not a proof of anything, but it’s a confirmation if you have a lot of other things that go along with it.”

As Dr. Lewis is describing her notes about one of Stauch’s relatives saying she called herself Maria Sanchez, District Attorney Michael Allen was shaking his head no.

Young told Dr. Lewis, “Your obligation as an expert is to turn over all information… Why was that not in your report?”

“This is an observation as you go through hundreds of pages of notes, so I’ll jot it down and think gee, that’s kind of interesting,” replied Dr. Lewis.

Young asked Dr. Lewis if she considered that all of Stauch’s family members said they didn’t notice Stauch showing signs of dissociative identity disorder. “I didn’t think about that specifically… it’s interesting that they did not notice this,” said Dr. Lewis.

“Do you think anyone who commits murder has a brain injury?” asked Young. “No,” replied Dr. Lewis.

Young moved on to talking about Stauch's actions when calling Gannon’s school saying he would not be there.

Dr. Lewis: “It’s a puzzle why she called in saying that he could not go to school.” Young: “So it had nothing to do with planning?” Dr. Lewis: “I don’t know, it could’ve had to do with planning.”

Young asked about the fact that she used three separate instruments to kill Gannon asking, “Does that tell you she has the capacity to inform the intent to kill?” Dr. Lewis responded, “I don’t know… I can’t be certain what was going on in her head.”

“I don’t know why she had a gun in her hand or why she shot Gannon… It is not clear, that she simply wanted to kill. This is a child she loved. If we want to believe what other people said, she loved Gannon,” said Dr. Lewis.

Young continued on to ask Dr. Lewis if she believed Stauch knew right from wrong when she put Gannon's body in the back of her car while driving it to the airport.

“I don’t feel qualified to conclude that. She certainly had the capacity to move it from one place to another… whether or not she felt this was right or wrong, I can’t speculate,” said Dr. Lewis. “Any speculation is possible… If the body is in your car you may want to avoid going anywhere near that car.”

“She had the capacity to know that she needed to hide the body. I can’t move on to say, yes, she knew right from wrong,” said Dr. Lewis. “I find crazy what you find logical... It’s crazy when you say Eduardo comes and rapes her and takes off with Gannon. The whole concept is crazy… The whole story of Eduardo is crazy.”

Pieces of video from the sanity evaluation conducted in November between Dr. Lewis and Letecia Stauch were played for the courtroom.

“Going into this interview did you have any concerns that Mrs. Stauch may not be truthful with you," Young asked Dr. Lewis to which she replied, "Of course."

In the interview, Stauch said that she calls her lawyer Josh Tolini by his first name, Josh, but she said her alter-ego of Maria calls him a**hole in Spanish.

In the interview Stauch is describing her ego named Jasmine, saying she has a lot of risky behaviors, gets in trouble, drinks a lot and parties a lot. “I’m not a partier,” said Stauch.

“I can be at work and be okay and then something really stressful happened, and then I’ll end up on a plane somewhere… My body goes through the motions,” said Stauch.

Dr. Lewis testified about when Stauch said she talked to a friend in Russian, and at one point, Stauch began speaking to Dr. Lewis in what sounds like Russian. “It ain’t Russian, it’s some kind of entity that sounds like Russian,” said Dr. Lewis.

"I am all over the place... It was not my intention to hurt Gannon. No, absolutely not. I loved Gannon... It would not be to hurt a child. Absolutely not,” said Stauch in here interview. “I’m being projected as some monster, and you don’t know, that this is not me. I don’t do these things.”

“I thought this was one big nightmare… Sometimes I don’t know what’s going on and what’s not really going on... But when bad things happen to good people, it’s hard. Especially because I’m sitting there lost,” said Stauch.

During the interview, Stauch said she was planning on leaving her husband. She said Gannon told her to leave, and Stauch said she should’ve just listened and gone back to the east coast, and then everyone would have been safe.

Stauch said Gannon said he can go with her. “He knew I was leaving to go back home to the east coast. I said ‘son, I can’t do that. It’s kidnapping.’ If I would’ve just did that, everyone would’ve just been fine," said Stauch.

Jurors were shown a clip of an interaction between Lewis and Stauch which appeared to show one of Stauch's alternate personalities.

"I’m not a violent person. I’m not violent at all… I don’t do this to people. If someone is trying to hurt people, I’m going to make sure they’re okay because that’s what I do each and every time.” said Stauch.

“Who am I talking to?” asked Dr. Lewis. "Taylor,” Stauch replied as she began apologizing because she said she doesn’t remember what the two were just talking about a minute ago.

Dr. Lewis said during her testimony of the clip, “This is a technique, the way in which we learned about, how do you get to talk to alternate senses of self?... We ask them, how would we get to talk to this person?... By and large, they have a special place that they go. It is known.”

"How do you know she’s not fooling you," asked Young. “Watch, listen, see what she’s consistent with,” replied Dr. Lewis.

Before court resumed after afternoon recess, Young went on the record saying he does not want Dr. Lewis to testify or talk about documents including signatures of Letecia Stauch, and a confession in Latin. The council agreed that those would not be testified about because Dr. Lewis “lost them.”

During testimony, Dr. Lewis began talking about documents and said she has them in her lap. Young is showing frustration because “this is exactly what I predicted. This was going to happen.”

The judge then asked Young and Tolini to look over the documents during a 15-minute recess.

Judge Gregory Werner returned and reminded people in the gallery that, “There is a child who lost his life and a woman who may be facing a life sentence.” The judge said no one who is testifying is an actor, and everyone who’s testifying has a connection to the case.

Young returned to the courtroom and asked Dr. Lewis if she knew the importance of turning over notes during a homicide investigation? “Whatever she signed there, whatever I had was turned over to Mr. Tolini to be copied and shared with you,” said Dr. Lewis.

Young asked Dr. Lewis why she sent an email to Tolini saying, “I have been reading more on Letecia, and I think we should drop the EEG request.” Young asked why she told the jury yesterday that she never requested to withdraw the EEG.

"I’m saying there’s other things that need to be addressed… I did not consider this withdrawing it permanently. I did not wish to fight with the court, of are you getting this or are you not," replied Dr. Lewis.

More video of the sanity evaluation was played, Stauch went on discussing her different personalities, and she said during that moment she is Taylor.

“How honest are you with me?” asked Dr. Lewis. “I am honest with you,” replied Stauch.

“On January 27, 2020, I had reported Gannon missing because he was… I was calm first, because I didn’t think anything was wrong. I thought he was just playing a hiding challenge and he would be okay. I thought he would eventually come out of his hiding spot,” said Stauch.

“I need to talk to Maria,” probed Dr. Lewis. Prior to this, Letecia wrote down on a piece of paper, “Maria said she will come on her terms, but don’t think she answers to anyone… Letecia can only talk to her. Not me (Taylor)."

“He was missing and then I called 911, I started to panic after a couple of minutes. That’s when I started to get worried because I realized that it started to rain and get cold outside,” said Stauch.

Stauch (as Taylor) said Gannon wasn’t supposed to die, as she’s shaking her head. “I did try to bring him back, I started praying over him, and trying to bring him back to life. He didn’t come back to life," said Stauch. "Where was he lying?" asked Dr. Lewis. "In my arms," replied Stauch.

“I am not a monster. I’m not a monster… People thinking I’m just a mass murderer and I just killed someone. Under no circumstances, did I know it was Gannon… I never knew it was him,” said Stauch.

In the video, Stauch then begins talking in what sounds like a Russian accent saying there was someone in the home who was trying to hurt them. “You don’t understand, I had to protect the people that were in the house… I had to protect them and that’s all I did," said Stauch.

“I’m trying to kill. That’s what I do… That’s what I do for a living… I took the gun and fired the gun at someone who had a cape on — a dangerous man,” said Stauch, who is now identifying as Maria.

Dr. Lewis asked where she got the accent. Stauch said, “this is how I talk.” She continued to say, “That’s what I do, I killed the man. I will protect the people that I love. That’s what I always do. I did what I was supposed to do. I killed a threat,” said Stauch.

Dr. Lewis then acknowledges that it’s nice to meet Maria, and she goes to shake her hand, and Stauch fist bumps her.

At the end of this clip and this part of the interview, a man walks out of the room following Tolini. Dr. Lewis was asked to identify that individual, and she says she cannot see. Young asked about that being her son. Young asked, “What is your son doing in the interview room?”

Young questioned Dr. Lewis why her son was in the room during an evaluation in a first-degree murder case. Dr. Lewis said her son was running and operating one of the two cameras in the room.

Jurors were shown part of the evaluation from the afternoon of November 17, 2022. This clip was an hour and 30 minutes long. The clip began with Dr. Lewis reading the confession in Latin, written by “Maria.”

Stauch said she gets flashbacks from the day Gannon was killed. “Blood, cape… I remember seeing someone in a cape… I remember a baby crying and then seeing someone in a cape,” said Stauch.

Stauch is identifying herself as Maria to Dr. Lewis. “Why did she get rid of Gannon’s body?” asked Lewis. “She did not do that… I know a lot of people,” said Stauch.

When asked about shooting the man in a cape, Dr. Lewis asked “Did it turn out to be Gannon?” Stauch replied, “Not until later… Later on it was Gannon, but it wasn’t supposed to be… I had to call some friends to help me out… to help get the body.”

“What would you do if a man was in your home?” said Dr. Lewis. “Probably run like hell,” replied Stauch. “I do different things… I have a special training in my past life.”

When asked about shooting Gannon, Stauch claims she’s her personality of Maria, saying, “I don’t care that I hurt people because it’s for the good… I don’t shoot crappy shots… My first thought was to get rid of the body.”

“How do you feel about Harley?” questioned Lewis. “That has nothing to do with me ma’am… I protect Letecia,” said Stauch.

Tolini can be heard in the video asking, “How did Gannon get all the cuts on him?” Stauch replied, “There was no cuts. I don’t know anything about cuts… I did not know this, I did not cut anyone.”

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is learned. Tune in to News5 tonight to watch the latest updates of the trial at 4, 5, and 6 p.m.

Follow updates from the courtroom with News5's Ashley Portillo on Twitter. As is normal in Colorado courts, media coverage of the events will be limited. No cameras are 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.

PRIOR COVERAGE:
Defense's clinical health professional: 'believes Stuach was psychotic' during Gannon's killing
Stauch trial enters week five, Stauch's web searches days after Gannon's disappearance revealed
Mental health doctor testifies in Letecia Stauch trial, believes Stauch exaggerated mental health symptoms
Jurors watch videos between investigators and Letecia leading up to her arrest
Jurors listen to multiple calls from Al Stauch searching for more answers about Gannon's disappearance
Investigators testify on blood patterns and 'violent' scene in Gannon's bedroom
Jurors shown video of Letecia Stauch alleged escape attempt
Jurors see first police interview with Letecia Stauch when questioned about Gannon's disappearance
Testimony from the medical examiner on Gannon Stauch's injuries.
Gannon's father says his ex-wife was 100% sane

READ THE ARREST AFFIDAVIT FOR LETECIA STAUCH

Gannon’s disappearance

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.

'My little boy is not coming home': Parents react to news of stepmother's arrest on murder charge

Gannon Stauch's stepmother charged with first-degree murder

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.
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