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Logistics for getting Letecia Stauch evidence in jail hashed out in court

Jail says there are reports of Stauch tampering with cell window, discussing escape
Letecia Stauch (EPCSO booking photo)
Posted at 3:59 PM, Mar 12, 2021

EL PASO COUNTY — Letecia Stauch had a motions hearing Friday, March 12, after deciding to represent herself in her first-degree murder trial. She's the El Paso County woman accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson, Gannon Stauch, in January 2020.

On the same day as the hearing, Gannon's last school unveiled a memorial in his honor. Grand Mountain School now has this wall dedicated to the former student and classmate. The private showing was reserved for family members, but Widefield School District 3 shared these photographs with our Colette Bordelon. One of the quotes on the wall reads: "Gone yet not forgotten, although we are apart, your spirit lives within us, forever in our hearts."

Meanwhile, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office filed a motion for reconsideration after Judge Gregory Werner ordered the core of the case evidence be printed off and delivered to Letecia Stauch in jail. Stauch was present in the courtroom Friday, with her advisory counsel Josh Tolini.

There are 26,101 pages of evidence in this case. The core of the case is estimated to be around 1,800 pages.

Those with the Sheriff's Office said they were not given the opportunity to weigh in on the paper evidence being provided to Stauch in the El Paso County Jail. Commander Gillespie of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office was called to the witness stand to help explain the security at the jail.

Commander Gillespie said the classification of an inmate governs how much access they have to certain facilities. Stauch is currently segregated from all other inmates, meaning she is kept by herself and only authorized to come out at certain times for things like showers and phone calls. Whenever Stauch is out of her cell, all of the other inmates must be cleared from the hallways. Only staff can be present. Stauch had this classification before being booked at the jail.

Since Stauch has been there, Commander Gillespie said there have been reports of her possibly tampering with her cell window or talking to other inmates about an escape plan.

Stauch later said she is only aware of one report about her since being at the El Paso County Jail. She did not specify which one.

Stauch is not the only pro se inmate within the El Paso County Jail. Pro se refers to anyone representing themselves in a legal matter.

It's not uncommon for pro se inmates to have lots of paperwork, but Commander Gillespie said the Sheriff's Office does not want a mess of papers inside of a jail cell. He said it creates hiding places for things like contraband or weapons, saying deputies have located weapons among paperwork in the past.

The Sheriff's Office plan for Stauch's paperwork is to keep it in a secure lockbox, which will only be opened by staff to ensure chain of custody is not compromised. Stauch is currently allowed four hours a week in the law library to review her case. Those are conducted in two, two-hour sessions.

Stauch had the opportunity to question Commander Gillespie while on the stand. It was her first time questioning a witness. She only had a handful of questions, one of which was asking Commander Gillespie if he knew why she had refused to go to the law library for one of her two-hour sessions recently. He believed it was because Stauch had nothing to review, since no evidence had yet been delivered (besides approximately 1,400 pages, which were delivered without being redacted, and had to be destroyed before Stauch could see them). Stauch says she actually denied the visit to the law library because she was told she would be kept in full restraints, meaning she would not be able to use her hands to do her work.

Commander Gillespie said they will have to make accommodations for Stauch in the law library, where she is not wearing full restraints and can adequately conduct her research. Judge Werner made sure to ask about that.

The Sheriff's Office objected to any other papers, besides the case core, being allowed inside the jail for Stauch. They requested other evidence be digitized. Plus, the District Attorney's office will need to deliver the evidence to the jail directly, to avoid calling Stauch's advisory counsel as a witness if there is a violation of chain of custody.

Judge Werner ultimately did not change his order regarding the 1,800 pages of case core evidence being transferred to Stauch in jail. Stauch can take notes on any digital evidence.

The prosecution said they plan on calling witnesses from the FBI at the proof evident, presumption great hearing in May. Judge Werner said they would need to make a list by April 29, so that Stauch can review who the witnesses will be.

At the end of the hearing, a letter Stauch wrote to Judge Werner was discussed. Apparently, Stauch told the judge her access to an attorney was hindered by the jail. The judge asked her again, if that were not the case, if she would still want to represent herself at trial. Stauch again says "I wish to represent myself, sir."

The letter from Stauch will be unsealed for the prosecution. Stauch's preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 20.

RELATED:
Previous coverage on the Gannon Stauch case
"It's a constitutional right I have": Letecia Stauch to represent self in first-degree murder case
Letecia Stauch's case pushed back 2 months as evidence is provided to her in jail
"Hard to imagine the day:" Gannon Stauch's father reflects after one year without son
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