Jury trial for Letecia Stauch, accused of killing stepson Gannon, scheduled to begin
Mar. 17—It's been over three years since 11-year-old Gannon Stauch died, and on Monday, the jury trial for his accused killer and stepmom, Letecia Stauch, is scheduled to begin.
Letecia Stauch is accused of first-degree murder for allegedly killing Gannon in January 2020, and then driving his body to Florida where his remains would later be found by a local sheriff's office.
On Monday, Stauch is scheduled to begin her jury trial after several delays since her arrest in March 2020.
The trial will begin with two weeks of jury selection, where the prosecution and defense will work to select a 16-person jury for the trial, four of which will be alternates.
The reason for the two-week long jury selection process is due to the likelihood that many potential jurors will be unable to be present for the entirety of the six-week long trial, as well as expected difficulties with jurors being exposed to previous media coverage of the case, according to Judge Gregory Werner.
To accommodate the anticipated length of jury selection, opening statements are scheduled to begin on the afternoon of April 3.
Delays in the case have occurred, in part, because of the two sanity evaluations that needed to be conducted on Stauch, as well as difficulties navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Initially, Stauch, 39, pleaded not guilty to the charges, but in February 2022 Werner granted her permission to change her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.
To accommodate Stuach's plea a sanity evaluation was conducted by the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, and a second evaluation was conducted by an expert hired by Stauch's defense attorney.
The first evaluation conducted by CMHIP found Stauch to be sane, Werner said at a hearing in August. The findings of the second evaluation conducted by the defense have yet to be revealed, and as of last week had yet to be filed to the court at all.
The lack of the second sanity report put Stauch's trial in jeopardy as 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen indicated at the pre-trial readiness conference on March 9 that not having the second report prior to trial was a serious complication.
Allen said that if the report was not received before trial, the prosecution could move to exclude the expert conducting the sanity evaluation, who was referred to as "Dr. Lewis" throughout the hearing, from testifying at trial.
Allen said not having the report borders on "bad faith" from the defense's expert.
"This is a disrespect to court deadlines," Allen said. "I've never seen anything like this."
Werner, who shared Allen's frustrations, gave a hard deadline of Wednesday evening, March 15, for the second sanity report to be filed.
"Convey to your expert that it's not a suggestion, it's not a guideline ... it's a deadline," Werner said. "If she (Dr. Lewis) wants to testify here in this case, it has to be done (by the deadline)."
Court records show that Stauch's defense attorneys filed a report, the contents of which are unknown, to the court on Thursday.
Stauch faces 13 charges including first-degree murder, child abuse and tampering with evidence.
In addition to the first-degree murder case, Stauch also faces a second case in which she is accused of attempting to escape from the El Paso County jail in May 2020.
Stauch was arrested in South Carolina in March 2020 and has been in jail ever since. She faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.