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Prosecutors challenge insanity claim during opening statements in Letecia Stauch's murder trial

Defense claims she suffered a “major psychotic crack” from years of abuse
Posted at 9:52 AM, Apr 04, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — Prosecutors called the murder of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch “deliberate and thoughtful” as they challenged the defense’s insanity claim during opening arguments Monday in Letecia Stauch’s murder trial.

The Colorado Springs woman was charged with first-degree murder for the shooting and stabbing death of her 11-year-old stepson before reporting him missing on Jan. 27, 2020. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity after changing her plea from not guilty in February of last year.

“This case has to do with Letecia Stauch's sanity,” District Attorney Micheal Allen told the jury of 11 men and seven women before explaining the legal definition of insanity. Letecia Stauch held her head down during most of Monday’s proceeding and showed little emotion.

The jury selection process began on March 20. More than 50 witnesses as well as state and federal law enforcement officials and others from various fields of expertise will take the stand during the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.

"This case is about two people, the first is Gannon Stauch, an 11-year-old little boy who came into this world premature. He proved to be a fighter,” Allen said as the boy’s mother, Landon Hiott, ran out of the courtroom, apparently overwhelmed with emotion.

Letecia Stauch allegedly stabbed and shot Gannon Stauch multiple times in his bedroom and then told police at the time Gannon had gone to play at a friend’s house and never returned.

She was arrested on March 2, 2020, in South Carolina before Gannon’s body was discovered in a suitcase by a construction worker on March 18, 2020 in Pace, Florida underneath a bridge off the side of a highway.

Prosecutors, led by Allen, argued during the opening statements that Letecia Stauch made the decision to stab Gannon 18 times, hide the evidence and change her story multiple times. Actions, they contend, don’t fit the behavior of someone who was insane at the time.

"There were no obvious signs of a struggle or murder because the defendant had cleaned them up," Allen said about the condition of Gannon’s room, the alleged scene of the murder.

Stauch’s arrest affidavit says on the day Gannon disappeared, Letecia Stauch texted her daughter to buy carpet cleaning supplies, trash bags and baking soda, which prosecutors say were used to clean up the scene.

Letecia Stauch’s defense lawyer Will Cook addressed the court and admitted that his client killed Gannon, but claimed she suffered a “major psychotic crack” as a result of childhood trauma when the murder occurred.

"I get it. We've lost," Cook said. "We have lost in the court of public opinion and the media. She's guilty. I get that. But this is a court of law … This isn't the media. This isn't Facebook. Wash all of that away."

Cook claims that Letecia Stauch was physically, emotionally and sexually abused at the hands of her mother’s boyfriends beginning at the age of 3 or 4. He said she slipped into a “dissociative” state and “broke” on the day of the murder.

He also claimed Letecia Stauch did not know she was killing Gannon that day, and instead "was killing the demons in her life, in the dark depths of her childhood."

In the arrest affidavit obtained by Denver7 in 2020, investigators said Letecia Stauch's internet history showed she wasn't happy with her marriage to Gannon's father and "had some degree of resentment towards the family as a step-parent." She also had appeared to be researching a move to an apartment in another state, days before Gannon was killed.

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