Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of the Colorado Springs woman accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson and then driving across the country to dump his body in Florida.
Letecia Stauch, 39, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Gannon Stauch, who disappeared from the family’s Colorado Springs home on Jan. 27, 2020, prompting extensive searches for the boy. Letecia Stauch was the last person to see Gannon alive, and investigators believe she killed the boy in his bedroom while the two were home alone that afternoon.
Gannon’s body was found in March 2020, inside a suitcase under a bridge near Pensacola, Florida. He had been shot in the jaw, stabbed in the chest and back, and suffered a skull fracture, authorities said. His body was wrapped in bedding from the family’s home, and bullets found in the suitcase appeared to have been fired from a gun kept in the family’s home, investigators previously testified.
Stauch pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which means she claims she cannot be held criminally responsible for the killing because she was legally insane at the time of the crime. If she is found not guilty by reason of insanity, she would be committed to a mental health facility for treatment, rather than prison, and could eventually be released if she is later found to be sane. If found guilty, she faces mandatory life in prison.
Jury selection in the case began Monday and is expected to last about two weeks. Opening statements are scheduled for April 3, and the trial could stretch as long as six weeks. A large pool of jurors is being called because of both extensive prior media coverage of Gannon’s disappearance and the expected length of the trial.
Stauch was arrested and charged with her stepson’s murder about two weeks before authorities found the boy’s body. Investigators became suspicious because Stauch gave authorities shifting accounts of what happened to Gannon. She called 911 to report him missing the day he disappeared and claimed he’d failed to come back from a friend’s house, but she couldn’t tell dispatchers the name of the friend he’d gone to visit.
During a preliminary hearing in the case, investigators testified that they believed Letecia Stauch killed Gannon in his bedroom, then dumped his body in a remote area near Palmer Lake along the El Paso/Douglas county line. They indicated she then returned to the dump site about three days later and collected the body.
Stauch and her then-teenage daughter drove a rented van from Colorado to Pensacola between Feb. 1 and Feb 4, 2020, investigators testified. They stayed in a hotel about three miles from the area where Gannon’s body was ultimately found before continuing on to Orlando and then South Carolina, where Stauch previously lived.
Investigators believed Stauch was unhappy in her marriage and resented caring for her stepson. She asked her teenage daughter to buy carpet-cleaning supplies, baking soda, trash bags and other items on the afternoon Gannon disappeared, authorities said.
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