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Letecia Stauch Found Guilty of 11-Year-Old Stepson Gannon’s Murder, Gets Life Sentence
Colorado Judge Gregory Werner blasted Letecia Stauch at her sentencing for showing "no remorse" for the brutal 2020 murder of her stepson, Gannon.
A Colorado woman who killed her stepson more than three years ago and hid his body in a suitcase, which she dumped across state lines, has been convicted and dealt a life sentence.
Letecia Stauch was found guilty on Monday in the 2020 killing of her stepson, Gannon Stauch, CBS News reported.
She was convicted of first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree murder of a victim under 12, tampering with a deceased human body, and tampering with physical evidence, per local news outlet KUSA. Staunch was handed two sentences of life in prison without parole on the murder charges.
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Jury deliberations had begun Friday. At trial, jurors heard testimony from dozens of witnesses, including Stauch’s relatives, as well as authorities and medical experts.
At sentencing, Judge Gregory Werner unleashed a scathing rebuke on Stauch, scolding her for purportedly feigning mental illness as part of her not guilty plea.
“You have shown no remorse during this process," Werner told Stauch.
How did Gannon Stauch die?
Gannon Stauch’s body was found inside a suitcase found under a Florida bridge in March 2020. He had sustained 18 stab wounds, a fractured skull and was also shot in the lower left jaw. He’d been missing since January of that year.
The judge referred to the slaying as one of the most “horrific,” he’s presided over in his career.
Prosecutors had brushed off Letecia Stauch’s insanity defense at trial, arguing she acted intentionally and with premeditation. They accused her of "viciously and deliberately" stabbing the 11-year-old boy to death in his bedroom and striking him in the back of the head with an unknown object before shooting him.
"No matter what the sentence is, it will never bring Gannon back," 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said.
Who is Letecia Stauch?
Letecia Stauch reportedly married Al Stauch in 2015. The couple lived in Colorado Springs with Al's two children, Gannon and his younger sister Laina, and Letecia's 17-year-old daughter Harley. Prosecutors presented Letecia as a woman who resented having to raise her stepchildren, feeling as though she was a glorified, unpaid babysitter.
On Jan. 27, Letecia reported Gannon missing, initially telling police he had been visiting a friend that afternoon and never returned home.
But her story kept shifting, including telling authorities that someone had broken into the family's home, raped her, and kidnapped Gannon. She also allegedly sought to fake a polygraph and impersonated her daughter in a phone call to deputies.
As authorities began to increasingly scrutinize her potential involvement in Gannon's disappearance, she left Colorado in early February, driving back to her native South Carolina. Along the way, authorities say she dumped the suitcase containing Gannon's remains under a bridge near Pensacola, Florida. She was arrested on March 2 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on charges related to Gannon's disappearance, though his body wouldn't be found until March 20.
In June of that year, she allegedly plotted her escape from jail, which resulted in additional charges.
After initially pleading not guilty in Gannon's murder, Letecia amended her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, in February 2022. Prosecutors were quick to challenge the notion that Letecia was suffering from mental illness and had instead acted with meticulous and deadly intent.
"There are people who are truly legally insane," prosecutor Dave Young said at trial. "They don't act like that. If they don't have the capacity to know right from wrong, they're not going to hide a body. They're gonna act like nothing happened .... they also don't lie because there's no reason to lie, because they don't think it's wrong."
Nonetheless, Staunch’s defense lawyers were adamant their client had suffered a severe mental breakdown at the time of Gannon’s murder.
"It makes no sense for someone who has pre-planned, for whatever reason, whatever motive, to brutally kill Gannon to then report him missing right away and then in a matter of three days later, go into the police with a completely illogical, incoherent story," attorney Josh Tolini said. "It is not the actions of a sane, rational person."
One psychological expert for the defense told the court that Letecia appeared to live with a number of disorders and also exhibits different personalities. One such personality was named “Maria,” the doctor testified, per CBS News.
Tolini described Stauch’s behavior as “delusional.” He specifically cited a phone call between the Colorado woman and Gannon Stauch’s father, Al Stauch.
"All of these pre-text phone calls with Al are the actions of someone who is delusional," Tolini said. "Listen to those February 14 phone calls between her and Al. Listen to how her voice and tenor change between phone calls. Listen to how emotions switch rapidly during the phone calls with Al and her stories switch rapidly in that no sane rational person of average intelligence could possibly expect anybody to believe."
A jury disagreed.
Ahead of sentencing, the court also heard emotional statements from both of the 11-year-old’s biological parents.
"Mother to mother, I trusted her with my children," Gannon’s biological mother, Landen Hoitt, said.
She described Letecia Stauch as a chameleon-like sociopath who was solely fixated on herself and no one else.
"She had everyone fooled... When all along she was the one hurting innocent children, breaking my kids and murdering my son."
"Gannon will always be my son. That will never be taken away," said Hoitt.
Gannon's father also spoke at Monday’s hearing.
"I would never have left you home alone with a murderer and the person who would be the last one to see you alive," Al Stauch said, according to CBS News.