EL PASO COUNTY, CO — Letecia Stauch was found guilty on all counts in her trial. Those counts included first-degree murder, first-degree murder of a person under age 12, guilty of tampering with a deceased human body, and guilty of tampering with physical evidence. The jury spent both Friday and Monday considering an insanity plea from Letecia.
After a short break for the judge to talk with the jury, the trial's sentencing phase is underway this afternoon to include victim impact statements from the family. Colorado no longer has the death penalty as an option. The maximum sentence Stauch faces is life in prison for first-degree murder.
Judge Werner began his sentencing with, "A parent's worst nightmare is getting a phone call letting them know that something has happened to their child, how much worse must that nightmare be when law enforcement asks, not for a picture of your loved one, but for DNA and dental records. I have also heard it said that one of the worst tragedies for a parent is to outlive a child."
Judge Werner said that Letecia's attempts to justify her mental health issues as a shield for her actions is a disservice to those struggling with major mental health issues that have had their free will taken away by extreme mental health disorders.
"You have shown no remorse throughout this process, instead you made a choice to build a web of lies," said Judge Gregory Werner.
Werner went on to sentence Stauch to two life sentences without the possibility of parole, with another +13 years for tampering with a deceased human body, and for tampering with physical evidence. The two life sentences will be merged into one life sentence without parole.
During sentencing, defendants are given the opportunity to address the court regarding their sentencing, Letecia chose to decline to speak.
Victim statements were heard in the moments that lead up to Letecia's sentencing.
Landon Bullard, Gannon's Mother began her statement, " I miss you Gannon and I love you, I and your sisters will miss you every day... You came into this world fighting and unfortunately, you left this world fighting... For three years I have wondered what I would say, for three years I have wondered if I will be able to say anything... You had support and appreciation from me even when I could not see eye to eye... I can't say that she ruined my life, for that would be a form of sick victory for her, because even through this process it has been a game for her... Instead of taking that power and allowing her to hurt me further, I wanted to tell you this, let me tell you what Gannon has done, even to this day, even after you hurt him and taint any positive image of him, he has caused families and communities and children's
and adults to come to the of Christ. He has called unity in times of trial, he is a hero... You stole so much from this world, cousins, grandparents, and siblings, Laina is missing her brother... Gannon is not forgotten... I've had to sit and listen and watch every reenactment of images, no one wants left in their mind, you wanted to leave us with that knowing it would torture us, but you underestimated me! I am Landon, Gannon's mom and that will never change, through my hurt, anger, and pain I will never be the monster that she is. I can never be filled with the hate that her heart holds, I pray that we will never have to look at her face again. I will continue to hold on to my faith, vengeance is not mine as I surely wish it could be at times, but it's the Lord's, I have to trust that. Thank you, Judge Werner for your compassion, your patience, I want to thank the Jurors for their attentiveness."
Up next to speak was Gannon's Father Al Stauch, Al opened with some words from Melissa, Al's wife.
"Some may say or think that I wouldn't be here if it weren't for 'Tecia' In part that may be accurate and I would be okay with that because then Gannon would still be here. I too know the pain of losing a child. There is no greater pain, we are now lifelong grief partners with two sons waiting in heaven for us," said Al on what Melissa wrote.
Al went on to say, "Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pull to pull, I thank whatever god may be from my unconquerable soul. In the failed clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried allowed, under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody, but I am bowed. Beyond this place of the brathe and tears, looms but the horror of the shade, and yet the minutes of the years, finds show find me unafraid. It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll, I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul" read Stauch. "The poem I read is named Invictus, translated from Latin it means unconquerable. I quoted this same poem at Gannon's memorial here in Colorado Springs back in August 2020. Why August of 2020? When his body was ripped to shreds on January 27th? Well, as we heard testimony his body was found 1370 miles away, then the process to identify his maggot-infested remains was held from us until July 2020. As I stated in my testimony on the stand Gannon was born severely premature and barely filled my two hands. At the end of his life his body was cremated into a pile of ashes, he was ultimately no bigger than the first time I held him. As brutal as the work was I am glad the bridge workers found him and returned his body to us... Your honor I refused to allow anger to poison my soul. Now for my precious premature-born son, Gannon, I never thought in my wildest dreams that you would be in danger and I would have never left you with what turned out to be a murder and the last person to see you on this earth. I'm sorry...."
“I know this is an emotional case, I get that, I understand that. This jury has worked hard. Regardless of if you agree with or don’t agree with their verdict, you need to exercise appropriate decorum," said Judge Werner.
Prior to a verdict, District Attorney Michael Allen addressed the community members in the courtroom.
“This family, this community, and this office very much [have] appreciated the support this community has given," said Allen.
Jury deliberations in the case against Letecia Stauch resumed Monday morning as the court considers charges of murder in the first degree, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with a deceased human body, and tampering with physical evidence for the death of Gannon Stauch.
Letecia did not testify in her own defense in the case. She's accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson, Gannon Stauch, inside the family home in early 2020 and dumping his body inside a suitcase along the side of a road in Florida.
The Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen, law enforcement officials from the state, local, and federal levels, and Gannon's parents spoke to the media following the sentencing.
District Attorney Michael Allen thanked his fellow attorneys at the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office, law enforcement officials, Gannon's family, the media, and all those that have never stopped looking and searching for Gannon.
"I want to talk to you about divine intervention. There is without a doubt that divine intervention played a role, in this case, multiple times," Allen began the press conference.
Allen went on to talk about the help of Macon Ponder, the bridge inspector who found Gannon's body in Florida. Allen said the bridge where Gannon was found was inspected once every two years. If Ponder had been there a month to two earlier there is a possibility that Gannon's remains would have never been found.
The press conference ended with Allen calling for Letecia to be placed in the highest maximum security correctional facility in Colorado.
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.
- Cross-examination of defense's key witness continues, jurors continue to watch November sanity evaluation
- 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
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
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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