This blog is in chronological order.
MONDAY MARCH 20, 2023
Jury selection commenced on this day.
Judge says they are hoping to reach a group of 110 potential jurors before the next step in the selection process.
The plan is they come together on April 3rd to pick final 18 (12 jurors and 6 alternates).
It is possible they will not have projected jurors by April 3.
— Dan Beedie KRDO (@BeedieonTV) March 20, 2023
Jury selection continued on March 21.
Another group of 75 will be brought in tomorrow to repeat this process until that 110 number is reached.
— Zach Dupont (@ZachNDupont) March 21, 2023
MONDAY APRIL 3, 2023
Opening statements were read on this day. The jury in this case is made up of 11 men and 7 women.
This info about Day 1 of the trial is from Gazette.com:
Sane or insane? That is the driving question in the trial of Letecia Stauch, who is accused of killing her 11-year-old stepson Gannon Stauch in January 2020.
During opening statements on Monday afternoon in a near-capacity El Paso County courtroom, prosecutors and defense attorneys said they believe they have the answer to the question of sanity, and that they plan to present expert testimony to prove it.
Defense attorney Will Cook claims that a defense-hired expert, Dr. Dorothy Lewis, found Letecia Stauch had a “psychotic crack” at the time she allegedly killed Gannon Stauch, and thus, found her insane.
Allen began his opening statement by displaying a picture of Gannon Stauch and telling the jury that the case will come down to insanity, and that by the end of the trial the prosecution will prove Letecia Stauch was sane at the time of Gannon Stauch’s killing.
TUESDAY APRIL 4, 2023
Gannon Stauch’s father, Al Stauch, took the stand Tuesday, testifying against his ex-wife for hours.
Al Stauch is the first witness in the trial.
District Attorney Michael Allen first asked him to identify his son based on a photo that was shown in court. Al Stauch said, fighting back tears, “that’s my boy.”
The first half of the day was testimony relating to the Stauch family background.
Al explained he is in the Army National Guard in a full-time position, and that he has been re-stationed several times. He also told jurors that his move to Alaska for an assignment caused tension in his relationship with Letecia at the time. He also told the jury, Letecia wanted to live beyond their financial means, which also caused relationship issues.
11 News Reporter Melissa Henry tweeted updates from the courtroom (below), as a two hour recorded phone call was played between Al and Letecia. That call was arranged through the FBI with Al Stauch’s cooperation. In that call, Al asked Letecia multiple times, “Did you kill Gannon?” Letecia replied “no,” every time, and at points she was heard crying and screaming.
Al Stauch also accuses Letecia in that call of changing her story several times as to what happened to Gannon.
Letecia appeared the same in court as she has recently– with her hair covering her face in a way that the rest of the room cannot see her face. She took notes and talked quietly with her lawyers.
The calls between Al and Tee were played into day 3. Tee can be heard on the calls repeatedly asking for immunity.
On this day, a Florida Bridge Inspector that discovered Gannon’s remains testified that he saw two little feet and a head after finding the body in a suitcase.
On Day 4, we learned some more about Tee’s shadiness. She applied for a job in January 2020 to help students with special needs. She provided a fake number for a job reference – she said the number belonged to a Connie Huddle, when it actually belonged to Gannon.
It was confirmed in court on day 4 that Tee was in Florida on February 4, 2020 and that she was in the same area where Gannon was found a month later.
The jury were shown photos of Gannon’s clothes and bedding that day. They were also shown the bullet which had been removed from his head.
A neighbor of Tee’s took the stand and spoke about how she had actually unusually following Gannon’s disappearance. The neighbor said Tee never searched and did one interview where she focused on defending herself, instead of asking for help in finding Gannon.
Dep. Christopher Ganstine recounted Tee’s fight or flight response when she was presented with a warrant. Dep. Ganstine said Tee ran in a full sprint away from him. When he handcuffed her, he said she was hysterical, screaming, and yelling obscenities.
On Day 5, the doctor that conducted Gannon’s autopsy testified that his cause of death was gunshot wound to the jaw, as well as blunt head trauma.
A detective testified that when he searched the residence, Gannon’s room smelled like ammonia bleach.
A reporter testified to interviewing Teeon January 31, 2020. In the interview she says she hopes when Gannon comes home, she gets a sincere apology from her critics, especially her husband. She then asks to redo her answer. In her second answer she is seen crying and pleading for Gannon to come home.
On Day 6, Tee’s brother testified that he saw her struggling with a suitcase.
LE tracked her movements in the days after Gannon vanished. They know that she moved out of the house and stayed with family at an Extended Suites hotel. She also rented a Budget truck and drove through Texas, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Rhode Island.
Law enforcement spoke in court on this day and said they found hits for blood in the garage, laundry, basement stairs, storage room and in Gannon’s room.
On Day 7, Tee’s initial statements about Gannon’s disappearance were played for the jury. This also included her recollection of being raped by Eguardo. A nurse testified regarding this and said that an involuntary physical exam was conducted on Tee but no sexual assault exam was done as Tee left before it could take place.
On Day 8, a witness who took crime scene pics testified that a gun was found in the master bedroom on top of a chest of drawers. It appeared to be able to hold 17 rounds and 16 rounds were counted in the gun.
On Day 9, Harley Hunt, Tee’s daughter took the stand. She explained that she initially believed that Tee had nothing to do with Gannon’s death.
“I’m still in shock. I defended her for years,” Harley said through tears. “I just feel like I’ve been manipulated and lied to.”
Harley was 20 when she testified and had been 17 I believe at the time of the murder.
She told the court that she had a good relationship with Gannon and his sister.
She went on to describe the day Gannon was reported missing.
“[Stauch] said that she asked to come home by like 5 or 6 and that we were going to go eat sushi,” Harley testified. “When time had gone by and he didn’t get back, she was like, I guess he didn’t want to eat sushi. And then after that we started looking for him.”
When asked whether it was unusual for Gannon not to come when he was supposed to, Harley said ‘Yes”
She described her mom as “worried” and said they drove to a friend of Gannon’s and learned he wasn’t there.
Harley also spoke about the trip with her mother across the country shortly after Gannon’s disappearance and testified that they drove with the air conditioning on even though it was wintertime. She was asked on the stand whether she knew or had any idea that Gannon’s body was in the back of the van.
“The thought just never came across my mind,” Harley said. “I just never thought my mom would do that. I didn’t see her to be the person to do that. So I never even questioned it.”
Harley also told the court she was a ‘hard sleeper’ and said that she would never have woken up if Tee left their hotel room during the night.
“Ms. Hunt, I want to ask you a direct question: Did you help your mother throw that suitcase over a bridge in Pensacola, Florida?” asked prosecutor Dave Young.
“No, I did not,” Harley replied.
“When I found out it [Gannon’s remains] was discovered in Florida, it was just weird because, like to myself, I was like we were in Florida. But I kept like, wanting to think it was a coincidence,” Hunt testified. “That somebody did follow us. Or there was a different story.”
On Day 10, more information about what was found at the Stauch home was revealed.
Commander Mitch Mihalko said he believed something violent happened in the Stauch home because of the blood patterns and stains found in Gannon’s room. He said the scene was locked down on February 7, 2020.
CSI Alyssa Berriesford analyzed the blood stains in Gannon’s bedroom on the walls, baseboard, and floor area. “There was something dynamic that happened there, more than just a single event that happened in that room,” she said.
Alyssa also said that there had been an attempt to clean the blood. She said some of the stains were blurred and altered.
She also said that the blood stains indicated there had been a gunshot, blunt force injury and sharp force injury.
On Day 11, jurors heard another call between Al and Tee that had been recorded by the FBI.
This call took place on February 15, 2020. Al can be heard to be frustrated in the call as he tries to get answers from Tee. She says at one point ‘I’m tired of being portrayed as the killer of a child I love.’
Another call was played and Al was being coached by an FBI agent to try to get answers.
The call began with Al asking, “I feel like this is all my fault in the end because I was gone when it happened.” Al then began asking questions about the puddle of blood in the corner of Gannon’s room where his bed was that seeped down to the concrete floor.
Another phone call was heard, this one between Tee and an FBI Agent. Tee was asked to describe in detail about the day Gannon disappeared. Tee said that she tried to Al a bike from Craiglist, and that she went to Dunkin’ Donuts, and Petco twice. Letecia then explained how when she and Gannon got home, Letecia heard a loud noise downstairs. Letecia said when she went downstairs, a man was standing near the storage room.
On Day 12, more calls were listened to. One was five hours long and it showed Tee being questioned by police. She was told she was being arrested for murder and her rights were explained.
“So, Gannon was murdered?” she asked. FBI Agent Grusing explained they can’t have that conversation unless she’s advised of her rights. Tee said she had an attorney, but agreed to speak with the agent and at no point asked for her lawyer. During the conversation Letecia repeatedly told the agent that Gannon is alive and “I can help you” but said she needed “someone who is going to help me.” She said she needed protection for her family.
FBI Agent John Grusing’s testimony went on into Day 13. He said that Tee would challenge him on statements about knowing what happened to Gannon.
On Day 14, FBI Agent Kevin Hoyland spoke about cell phone data that had been taken from phones belonging to Tee, Gannon and Harley.
There were two outgoing calls made from Gannon’s phone at 7.30pm on January 27. He had already been reported missing by that point.
GPS data also shows that Tee’s vehicle was in the are of Palmer Lake on January 28. Gannon’s blood would be later found there on a board.
On February 4, Tee’s van was powered up at 4.15am in Florida, less than two miles from where Gannon’s body would eventually be found.
Dr. Christine Mohr, the Mental Health Director at the El Paso County Jail, testified to an assessment she did of Yee on March 5, 2020.
Letecia appeared calm and polite throughout the interview.
Letecia denied having any disorders, in-patient or out-patient treatment.
The same doctor assessed Tee on March 9 and Tee described herself as mentally fine and not guilty.
Dr Mohr interviewed Tee again on March 20. Tee was told about Gannon’s body being found during this interview. She was described as tearful and overwhelmed and denied ever being in Florida.
Tee first raised the issue of competency and asked for an evaluation on June 5, 2020.
On Day 15, Dr Jackie Grimmett who is a forensic psychologist, testified about completing a competency evaluation on Tee.
This evaluation happened in December 2020, to determine if Tee had a mental disability.
The doctor testified that Tee understood the proceedings and was able to assist in her defense.
Dr Grimmett said Tee did tell her a story about vampires visiting her jail cell, but later admitted she got the names from Twilight.
The doctor said it was her opinion that Tee was faking some of her symptoms. She confirmed that Tee did have some traits of borderline personality disorder and narcissistic but that she did not qualify to be diagnosed with either.
Dr Leondra Torres also testified. She said that she conducted a competency evaluation and a sanity evaluation on Tee in 2022.
Dr Torres said that Letecia’s story changed between the evaluations she administered.
In 2020, Letecia said she began to be molested at 12 years old, but said the molestation began at 9 in 2022.
In August 2020, Letecia denied having any inpatient treatment for mental health issues, then in December 2020 said she had received treatment in Canada, and in March 2022 repeated the story about Canada.
On Day 16, Tee said she felt sick and this delayed the trial. She was warned by the judge about making noises in court when she disagreed with what witnesses were saying.
Dr Torres returned to the stand. The jury were shown a portion of an interview between Tee and this doctor.
In the clip, Tee described an accidental shooting where she shot someone wearing a cape. She said she later learned this was Gannon.
Tee said that she would never purposely hurt Gannon and that she had been traveling between personalities. She also said that she could bring Gannon back from the dead.
Dr Torres gave an opinion on Tee’s sanity. ‘It was that Mrs Stauch was sane at the time of the crime.’
On Day 17, Intelligence Analyst Kevin Clark testified about CCTV. He said that it was not typical for Tee to back the car into the garage or driveway but that she did this on the days following Gannon’s disappearance.
He also explained how he had studied Tee’s phone records and said that she used her phone frequently, except on the day Gannon disappeared. Her phone use stopped from late morning til early afternoon.
Kevin testified that he found notes on Letecia’s phone titled, “In the case of a missing child Gannon Stauch” that included questions like, “Did you accidentally hurt him in a physical way? Did you murder your stepson? Do you know personally who was involved in your stepson’s disappearance?”
He also said that there was an outgoing call placed from Gannon’s phone to Gannon’s mother’s phone at 10:03 p.m. on the night Gannon was reported missing. Kevin testified that Gannon was not alive when that call was made.
After calling 50 witnesses, the state rested its case on Day 18.
Dr Ronda Niederhauser was next on the stand. She treated Tee in 2019 and diagnosed her with generalised anxiety.
This doctor said that she did not think Tee was a danger to herself or others and that she did not show signs of a severe mental disorder.
Dr Dorothy Lewis also testified. This doctor is an expert in serial killers and dissociative identity disorder.
Dr Lewis said that she believes Tee switched into a different identity as a result of childhood abuse. She also said that she believes Tee does not know what happened to Gannon and that she was not sane at the time of the killing.
Dr Lewis continued her testimony again on Day 19. The jury were shown some excerpts of a 14 hour interview from 2022 where Tee spoke in an accent as ‘Maria.’ She said that she shot him because she thought he was an intruder and said ‘He wasn’t supposed to die. It wasn’t supposed to be him.’
Dr Lewis said Tee’s actions were ‘crazy’ and not ‘logical or smart.’
After the jury was dismissed on this day, the judge asked Tee if she would testify and she confirmed that she would not.
Closing arguments came on Day 20. Prosecutors emphasised the brutality of Gannon’s death. They also spoke about how Tee attempted to conceal the crime and that this showed premeditation. The prosecution said this showed Tee was sane because she was trying to manipulate and misdirect the investigation.
The prosecution argued that Tee killed Gannon because she hated him and wanted to leave Al to start a new life.
Tee’s defense rebutted that she had no motive to kill Gannon and this meant she must have been psychotic. They also argued that the brutal way in which Gannon died confirmed that Tee was psychotic.
The jury deliberated for a few hours before they broke for the weekend.
The jury reconvened on Monday May 8 and quickly announced that they had reached a verdict.
Tee was found guilty on all counts, including first-degree murder, murder of a child under 12 by a person in a position of trust, tampering with physical evidence, and tampering with a deceased human being.
Tee showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
Sentencing started for Tee around 30 minutes after the verdict was read. Judge Werner made his feelings clear.
He said the case was the most horrific that he had ever seen and told Tee that she had showed no remorse during the process.
Gannon’s mother Landen also read a statement:
“Mother to mother, I trusted her with my children,” she said.
Landen went on to say that Letecia cannot love anyone but herself and is incapable of caring for another human being, “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.”
Al also spoke. “I would never have left you home alone with a murderer and the person who would be the last one to see you alive.”
Tee was sentenced to two life sentences without parole, 12 years in prison for tampering with a deceased human body, and 18 months for tampering with physical evidence.
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