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Letecia Stauch Tried To Fake Polygraph Test, Impersonated Daughter To Cover Up Alleged Killing Of 11-Year-Old Stepson, Prosecutors Say
Letecia Stauch pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for the alleged murder of her stepson Gannon Stauch, 11. But prosecutors say the efforts she made to cover up the killing refute claims that she suffered a "major psychotic crack."
Letecia Stauch sought a fake polygraph test and impersonated her teenage daughter in a call to deputies, in addition to using other tactics to cover up the alleged murder of her 11-year-old stepson, prosecutors said Monday.
The Colorado stepmother has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for stabbing Gannon Stauch 18 times and shooting him in the head point-blank on Jan. 27, 2020.
But prosecutors say that her decisions after the killing — cleaning up the crime scene and hiding the boy in a suitcase and disposing of his body 1,500 miles away — demonstrate that she was of sound mind and contradict her attorney's claims that she suffered a "major psychotic crack."
The boy's body was found by a Florida Department of Transportation worker in the suitcase under a bridge in Pensacola on March 17 of 2020.
In previous court hearings, investigators detailed Stauch's shifting narrative to detectives. At one point, they said, she claimed two men raped her and kidnapped the boy. She also accused the child's birth mother of abducting him, according to Law&Crime.
The boy's father, Al Stauch — a National Guardsman who was away when his son was killed — described similar behavior in court, saying that his now ex-wife told four versions of her story. In a recorded conversation between the former couple, Stauch denied killing the boy.
On Monday, prosecutors detailed further steps that the 39-year-old took to conceal the alleged murder.
Jurors heard a phone call between Stauch and a representative for a company she solicited for fake polygraph results during the investigation.
Stauch reached out to the company to inquire about results of the fake test. The representative who answered the phone ultimately told her that the company's management had blocked them because the nature of her questions were related to illegal activity, according to Law&Crime.
Another recorded call was played for jurors in which Stauch claimed to be her 17-year-old daughter, Harley Hunt. "Hunt" asked evidence technicians at the El Paso County Sheriff's Office to retrieve items from Stauch's impounded car, including a backpack, diamond rings, her social security card and birth certificate.
Evidence technician Christina Cervantez can be heard telling "Hunt" that they could not retrieve the items for her, citing deputies' ongoing investigation, and suggesting that she contact the lead detective on the case. On Monday, Cervantez said it was "odd" that the caller claimed to be a flight attendant since the real Harley Hunt is only 17.
Prosecutors claimed Monday that Stauch drugged Gannon before the attack.
Dr. Susan Ignacio, the medical examiner who autopsied Gannon's body and ruled his death a homicide, testified that an "unusual" combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone — found together in the medication Vicodin — were detected in his system.
Al Stauch was then brought back onto the stand, where he recalled that he was once prescribed "some sort" of hydrocodone prescription after losing his fingertip while woodworking. He instead relied on ibuprofen for pain management and said only he and "possibly" Letecia knew the leftover Vicodin was stashed in a bedside drawer.
Ignacio recalled that Gannon suffered 18 stab wounds, four blunt-force trauma wounds and one bullet wound in the head, according to local outlet KRDO.
The child was decomposed when he was found with some bones showing, she said, and he was wearing the clothes he died in.
In light of the prosecution's case, Stauch's half-brother Dakota Lowry said he no longer believed her insanity defense on Tuesday.
"When everything first happened, when we found out they found the little boy's body. We found out where he was found, at that point, I knew she did it," he said, according to NBC affiliate 9News. "And yeah, I thought she might have snapped, went crazy, but now, no. No. I just feel like too much got done for her to be saying that now."
Initially, Lowry traveled with his mother and aunt from North Carolina to support Stauch and assist the search when her stepson went missing.
He recalled seeing Stauch struggle with an older green suitcase, the one Gannon was found inside, when the family helped her move effects from her home to a hotel. He said she refused help lifting the heavy bag, telling the court with a cracking voice that she claimed it was filled with "softball stuff."