COLORADO SPRINGS — In the murder trial of Letecia Stauch, the prosecution entered into evidence an incident with Letecia Stauch as she was being transported to Colorado to face charges.
Stauch was arrested in South Carolina prior to the discovery of her stepson's body inside a suitcase dumped along a Florida road in 2020. Lead Detective Jessica Bethel testified she had probable cause and obtained an arrest warrant for Stauch in early March, so she went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to make the arrest.
El Paso County Sheriff's Office personnel transported her back to Colorado to face charges. According to Bethel, the process was recorded due to previous behavior by the suspect.
She said of Stauch's behavior, “She was calm, she ate, she sang songs, she played trivia." Bethel also said Letecia had conversations not related to the investigation, she ate and drank, and was able to use the restroom.
However, during this process there was an incident that resulted in the defendant being charged with escape. The court was shown video of Letecia seen manipulating her hands out of the restraints, glancing over several times, then taking a Monster Energy can and hitting a member of law enforcement in the head with it.
The driver of the vehicle then slams on the brakes, and the vehicle pulls over on the side of the highway.
As deputies are working to restrain her Letecia Stauch says, “She keeps threatening me the whole time" in regard to one of the people involved in the transport. Bethel is heard saying, “Cooperate with me.” To which Letecia replies, “I will with you, but not with her.” At that point, she was informed she would face another criminal charge.
Earlier, Bethel testified that Letecia was moving around before slipping out of her handcuffs, and glancing at the deputies’ waist areas where their guns were. The detective said it was a very dangerous situation, and that Letecia was already suspected of murder, then assaulted a deputy who was armed and attempted to obtain her firearm.
Stauch stated she was not trying to escape, but trying to open the door for "some air."
As the defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the prosecution asked the detective about Stauch's mental state. Bethel replied, "I believe she is sane, and she is manipulative and very calculated.”
During the defense counsel's cross-examination, they asked Bethel about Stauch's behavior during transport. "She seemed like she was calm and collected. Didn’t switch her personalities?"
Liewer testified about photos he took of positive reactions of the blue star chemical which can detect blood. There were many positive reactions on the wall where Gannon’s bed was.
Liewer described a reddish/brown stain on the carpet where Gannon’s bed was. The stain went through the carpet, the padding, and down to the concrete.
Liewer also photographed a defect on the window sill next to Gannon’s bed. Liewer said based on the evidence, they began looking for what caused the bloodshed event, like a blunt force instrument or a firearm.
They found a firearm in the master bedroom of the Stauch home on a piece of furniture. It’s a black Smith & Wesson handgun, which was taken and seized from the home. Jurors were shown the handgun.
Liewer testified about how they searched the home for cleaning materials and supplies, based on the evidence of blood they found. A bottle of vinegar was found on the washer/dryer, while other supplies were found under the kitchen sink.
The next witness was Stephanie Happ, the senior firearms examiner with the Colorado Springs Metro Crime Lab.
Happ examined and tested three firearms taken from the Stauch home and compared them to the three recovered bullets, two from the pillow and one from Gannon’s head when his body was found in a suitcase in Florida.
Happ said she was able to identify two of the bullets being fired from a Smith & Wesson pistol, which was one of the firearms she was asked to examine.
Cross examination began for Stephanie Happ. She was being questioned about the pistol in question, and if it favored a right-handed person or a left-handed person. She said if she was the shooter, the pistol would favor a right-handed person.
Happ also testified saying the shell casings of the pistol in question would fall to the right.
Happ said she did not evaluate how far away the shooter was. That was the end of her testimony. The next witness called was Brooke Bell, the senior crime scene investigator with the Colorado Springs Metro Crime Lab.
As the day was wrapping up at the Letecia Stauch murder trial, we also learned one of the jurors knew one of the witnesses. The judge will decide on Monday if they’ll bring in an alternate juror.
District Attorney Michael Allen said he was made aware of photos of Letecia Stauch flipping people off in the courtroom during trial, including witnesses and Gannon’s family.
Judge Werner: “Ms. Stauch, what you need to understand is I can control the conduct of an awful lot of people in the courtroom, including yours... If that continues, I can have you removed, and the trial will continue without you, and you will sit in a holding cell..."
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.
Jurors see first police interview with Letecia Stauch when questioned about Gannon's disappearance
"I knew she did it," said Letecia Stauch's half brother, referring to murdering her stepson
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 father says his ex-wife was 100% sane
Prosecutors challenge insanity claim
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.
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