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'Did You Kill Gannon?' Court Hears Recording Of Gannon Stauch's Father Pointedly Confront His Wife About Son's Disappearance
Letecia Stauch is accused of murdering her 11-year-old stepson in cold blood, but her attorneys have said she suffered a "major psychotic crack."
In the days following the disappearance of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch in Colorado, the boy's father pointedly asked his wife if she killed him, according to an audio recording of a phone call between the couple presented in a Colorado Springs court Tuesday.
"Did you kill Gannon?" Al Stauch asked his wife Letecia, who's standing trial for the boy's murder.
"I can't believe you asked me this!" she replied, according to Law&Crime.
Letecia Stauch's attorneys don't dispute the fact that she killed her stepson on Jan. 27, 2020, just hours before reporting him missing, but told jurors she did so because of a "major psychotic crack," as her trial got underway Monday. She's pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but prosecutors argue she was fully aware of her actions and that her decision-making after the boy's killing prove so.
Gannon was stabbed 18 times and also shot in the head, authorities have said. After his murder, prosecutors allege Stauch, 39, cleaned up the blood from Gannon’s bedroom and hid his body in various locations, eventually driving the remains to Florida, where she disposed of it in a river that connects to the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Associated Press.
“Everything that happened to Gannon from that point forward was her decision,” argued District Attorney Michael Allen of the 4th Judicial District. “She carried out actions to kill Gannon, to put his body in the suitcase and hide it, to hide evidence of what she did to Gannon, told numerous stories to investigators to manipulate the course of the investigation, and finally to discard Gannon inside that suitcase off of a Florida bridge like garbage.”
Prosecutors have theorized that Letecia Stauch was unhappy in her marriage and felt like an unpaid babysitter for her stepson, according to the AP.
In the wake of Gannon's disappearance, Stauch gave investigators several conflicting explanations regarding the preceding events. At one point, she claimed that two men had raped her and proceeded to abduct Gannon, the AP reported.
Gannon’s blood was later identified on Stauch’s shoe, and her DNA was found on the gun linked to his murder.
“All of her actions were purposefully designed by her to distance herself from what she did,” Allen explained.
Stauch’s attorneys argue that she suffered a “major psychotic crack” at the time of Gannon’s murder due to her own childhood trauma, including both physical and sexual abuse.
“These are all signs and evidence of a mind, a soul, that is broken in a most fundamental and profound way,” stated Stauch’s defense attorney Will Cook, according to the AP.
Cook argued that Stauch’s contradictory explanations indicate her insanity, suggesting that her childhood abuse resulted in dissociative identity disorder. Cook further elaborated that Stauch saw herself killing the “demons” of her childhood, instead of seeing herself kill her stepson, at the time of Gannon’s murder.
After reporting Gannon missing, Stauch eventually dumped his remains, which had been stuffed into a suitcase, over a bridge railing 1,400 miles from their home. A bridge worker conducting a safety check discovered the suitcase on March 17, 2020.
On the morning of Gannon’s murder, Stauch took a photo of the child sleeping in bed, which authorities allege occurred moments before his death. The same bedding from the photo was also found inside of the suitcase filled with Gannon’s remains, according to Law&Crime.
In the audio exchange between Al and Letecia Stauch, the father noted the fact that Letecia had changed her story "for the fourth time" about Gannon's disappearance, according to Law&Crime.
Al Stauch, who was on a National Guard deployment when his son Gannon was killed, also took the stand Tuesday, recounting that Letecia had previously accused Gannon of threatening her with a knife, but he told jurors he never saw such behavior from the child.